Ten weeks before the handover, United States President Donald Trump gives Israel a final gift. The United States will label Israeli exports from the occupied West Bank as coming directly from Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who became the first US foreign minister to visit an Israeli colony, said on Thursday (November 19th).
“All producers in areas where Israel exercises its authority […] will have to write “Israel”, “Made in Israel” or “Made in Israel” on their products when they export to the United States, ”said Mike Pompeo in a statement, shortly after his visit to the Israeli vineyard of Psagot located in a colony in the West Bank.
The Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords in the 1990s divided the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, into three zones (A, B and C). The first two make up 40% of the territory and are placed mainly under Palestinian control. Zone C (60%) is under Israeli military and civilian control, but with the idea of a planned transfer, and to be defined, to the Palestinians during a final peace agreement, according to these same agreements.
A “disputed” territory
For Israel, “Zone C”, the site of most of the agricultural Jordan Valley and all of the settlements, cannot be considered “Palestinian” territory, but “disputed”, since no agreement is again intervened to seal a final peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The new US approach “recognizes that Zone C producers operate under Israel’s administrative and legal framework and that their products should be treated as such,” said Mike Pompeo. This change thus seems to imply that the products, for example, of Palestinian farmers living in “zone C” will fall under the label “Israel”.
The foreign minister, who is making a farewell tour of the Hebrew state from Wednesday to Friday, also indicated that the products coming from zones A and B will have to be labeled “West Bank”. And those in the Gaza Strip as being from “Gaza”.
“Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively [des territoires séparés] and must be considered as such, ”added Mike Pompeo, referring to the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, which sits in the West Bank, and the Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, a Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade.