(November 23, 2020, JNS Wire) On November 19th, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made two historic visits, one to a community in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and one to the Golan Heights. That alone, would have been sufficient to win our accolades. The Secretary of State was the first person in his position to visit a community in Judea and Samaria.
As much as his presence is sorely welcome in these territories that much of the world, with their biases against Israel, would prefer to call “disputed” or even “Israeli occupied,” it was his sincere and genuine words that we will always remember.
While there, he remarked that the United States will no longer allow products that come from Judea and Samaria to be labeled “West Bank/Gaza,” but to be labelled “Made in Israel,” adding that this is because the areas are “politically and administratively separate.”
This undoes decades of blatantly discriminatory practice that go back to the Clinton era. While in Judea and Samaria, he visited the Psagot Winery in the Sa-ar Benyamin region, and wrote in the guest book, “It is a blessing to be here in Judea and Samaria. May I not be the last Secretary of State to visit this beautiful land.”
From there, Mr. Pompeo flew to the Golan Heights where he remarked, “You can’t stand here and stare out at what’s across the border and deny the central thing that President Trump recognized that previous Presidents had refused to do, that this is a part of Israel and a central part of Israel. I remember too… the international pressure to return this very place to Syria. It was all the rage in the salons of Europe and in the elite institutions in America to say that this should be returned to Syria. Imagine, with Assad in control of this place, the risk, the harm to the West, to Israel, and to the people of Israel. President Trump just recognized the basic fact that this indeed is a part of Israel. It was an honor to be here… I told the Prime Minister that I very much wanted to come here on this trip to tell the world that we have it right. That we, the United States has it right, and Israel has it right. And that every nation has the right to defend itself and its own sovereignty, and that the United States and the Trump administration will continue to do all we can to make sure that Israel has what it needs to do just that. And that every nation has the right to defend its own people.”
Truer words were never spoken. Could you imagine if the topographical high ground of the Golan Heights fell into Syrian hands? Syria is now a failed state, and is fertile ground for several warring powers and terrorist groups. Syrian soil can be now best described by what philosopher Thomas Hobbes called a “war of man against man.”
And earlier in the day, at The King David Hotel, Secretary Pompeo astounded those of us who have been battling the scourge of BDS for years by recognizing the “BDS movement for the cancer that it is,” adding that “we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct, and withdraw US government support for such groups.”
The Secretary of State also added that, although the United States did support the renewal of the UNIFIL mission, “For far too long, Hizballah has enjoyed near-total freedom of movement through UNIFIL’s mandated areas of control, and with Iran’s support, has built up an arsenal of weapons, fired missiles into Israel, dug attack tunnels underneath the Lebanon-Israel border, and more. The United States cannot abide by these actions against our trusted friend. The most recent renewal of the mandate included new reporting requirements on those attacks against peacekeepers and investigations of access denials. We are hopeful that these important steps will ensure UNIFIL can be a multilateral mission that actually fulfills its mandate. If not, we’ll have to move in a different direction.”
Says Sarah Stern, EMET Founder and President, “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as the entire Trump administration, will definitely go down in history as the most pro-Israel administration the United States has seen, thus far. By recognizing the reality of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria, Mr. Pompeo has disabused many of the false fantasies that they are living in, regarding giving up all of the land that Israelis have fought and died for, and which would make Israel’s borders simply indefensible.. By doing so, he is giving those in the international community who want to turn back the clock 53 years a dose of reality therapy. We are also profoundly grateful about the long-awaited acknowledgement of Hezbollah’s increasingly intimate relationship with UNIFIL, and of course, profoundly grateful to Secretary of State for recognizing BDS for the anti-Semitic cancer that it is.”
Adds Mrs. Stern, “Each one of these issues, taken separately would bring joy to our hearts, but collectively our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude. We sincerely hope that the presumptive Biden administration will not go back to the failed foreign policy paradigm of past administrations, which simply perpetuated the conflict and gave the Palestinians, as well as the Syrians, unrealistic expectations that no responsible Israeli government could ever meet. Not if they want to keep their people from being slaughtered by the many enemies of Israel and the United States that inhabit that dangerous neighborhood.”