Mike Pompeo was the first US Secretary of State to visit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Earlier in the day he also paid a controversial visit to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
Palestinians reacted furiously.
Israel captured the strategically vital Golan Heights near Syria in 1967, during the Six-Day War. The US recognized Israeli sovereignty over that area last year. That was very sensitive internationally. Pompeo called that US statement on Thursday “simply an admission of reality.”
The administration of US President Donald Trump is known as a key ally of the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He thanked the visiting minister for his “continued support” for Israel. Pompeo is not known to have any meetings with Palestinian leaders on the agenda.
The minister also spoke out during the visit against attempts to isolate Israel economically and diplomatically. He described the so-called BDS movement as “anti-Semitic”. That abbreviation stands for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’: Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions.
“I want you to know that we will take immediate steps to identify organizations engaged in hateful BDS behaviour,” Pompeo said. “We will then withdraw support from the US government.”