US/World News

In a first, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit West Bank settlement

(JTA) – Mike Pompeo is planning to visit an Israeli West Bank settlement, the first time a secretary of state will have made such a visit. For the visit during the Trump administration’s lame-duck period, he has chosen a settlement that is home to a winery that created a special label in his honor. The visit, planned for next week, will take Pompeo to the Israeli settlement of Psagot, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, according to Axios. The visit comes roughly a year after Pompeo annulled a longstanding State Department legal opinion declaring settlements illegal. It also comes after the release earlier this year of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, under whose terms Israeli settlements would be annexed to Israel. Psagot is not part of the three settlement blocs that, in earlier rounds of peace negotiations, were widely expected to be annexed to Israel. 

Pompeo was also the first secretary of state to visit the Western Wall in eastern Jerusalem with Israeli officials, which is also in territory much of the world considers occupied by Israel. This year, he gave a speech at the Republican National Convention delivered remotely from Jerusalem. Pompeo will also be visiting the Golan Heights, an area that, like the West Bank, Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War. But unlike the West Bank, Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights, a move recognized by the Trump administration last year.

Main Photo: In this screenshot from the livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the virtual convention in a prerecorded video from Jerusalem, Aug. 25, 2020. (The Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

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