Pompeo in Israel: Three announcements that cement 'apartheid'

In final weeks of Trump presidency, US secretary of state issues decrees that blur line between Israel and Palestinian territories it occupies

November 20, 2020 "Information Clearing House" - "Middle East Eye" -With just two months left before the Biden administration takes office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a slew of announcements on Thursday that blur the line between the state of Israel and the Palestinian territories that it occupies.

After a visit to an illegal West Bank settlement, the top US diplomat issued a directive to identify organisations that boycott companies doing "business in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel".

He said the State Department would ensure that no government funds went to such groups - a move that would disadvantage NGOs that do not operate in the settlements, in accordance with international law.

In a separate decree, Pompeo said exported products from parts of the occupied West Bank must be labelled as 'Made in Israel'.

The latest effort, critics say, is a push to dissolve the Palestinian quest for statehood and cement the reality of total Israeli rule over the lands and peoples between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River - regardless of Israel's plans to officially annex parts of the West Bank.

Here are three key takeaways from Pompeo's announcements:

Penalising boycott of settlements

The outgoing administration of President Donald Trump has long voiced opposition to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and tried to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

On Thursday, Pompeo issued an actionable order to that effect - one that will not only punish groups that boycott Israel, but also those that discourage business with settlements.