In response to Secretary Pompeo’s visit to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and announcement that the US government will require products made in and around Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory to be labeled “made in Israel,” J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:
“President Trump and Secretary Pompeo’s lame duck clearance sale to the Israeli settlement movement and the Netanyahu government is in overdrive. By greenlighting major settlement construction announcements, touring the settlements and treating the products of occupation as if they were ‘made in Israel,’ they are paving the way for a nightmare of permanent occupation, conflict and injustice that would be disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians. Fortunately, the moves they’re making can soon be washed away by the tides of history — and by the incoming President of the United States.
“Upon taking office, the incoming Biden administration should immediately make clear that the annexation-enabling ‘Trump plan’ is off the table; that the United States remains supportive of a viable, comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and that settlements, resource exploitation and restrictions on the rights of Palestinians in occupied territory are all violations of international law in the eyes of the United States.
“For the sake of both Israel’s future and Palestinian rights, Pompeo’s attempt to reverse decades of US policy must be rolled back — and a firm distinction between Israel and the territory it occupies must be reinstated and enhanced. The incoming administration and Congress should make absolutely clear that US taxpayer dollars should not and will not be allowed to support programs and institutions in the settlements. And they should reverse the harmful and reductive new decision to designate all forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel or the occupied as inherently ‘antisemitic’ — a move that appears intended in part to attack respected NGOs that seek to document human rights violations and to maintain the distinction between Israel and the occupied territory.
“At the same time, it’s important that the Palestinian leadership continue to take steps that demonstrate their seriousness as diplomatic partners committed to a two-state solution. Their moves to re-engage with Israeli security forces and with their Gulf neighbors, and now reportedly to consider reforming their controversial prisoner payments program, are welcome signs of the progress that is possible under a new US administration.”