Some Republican senators led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark) this week sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to sign an executive order that would allow goods made in the Israeli-occupied territory of the West Bank to be labeled “Made in Israel.”
The West Bank is generally viewed in the international community as a territory illegally occupied by Israel. However, under Trump’s administration, Israel has been given the leeway to legitimize the territory as a part of their own country, the Hill reports.
The letter was signed by Sen. Cotton, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla), and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). The letter admonished the administration to issue the order before January 20, 2021. The letter was sent to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.
The GOP senators asked Trump to immediately rescind the Obama administration’s policy that required that all products produced in the West Territory to be labeled “Made in West Bank.”
“We appreciate your leadership and many achievements in support of Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, the United Nations and some prominent members of the Democratic Party are working to oppose Israel and support the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seek to isolate and damage Israel economically.”
The senators stated that they were worried that a future president could enforce the 1995 policy, thereby making Israel vulnerable to a boycott of its goods, Axios writes.
They called on Trump to undo the policies of the Clinton administration and continue in his pro-Israel policies, which will see goods produced in a region Israel calls Judea and Samaria to be labeled as “Made in Israel.”
All previous US presidential administrations since 1967 have adopted the policy of recognizing the West Bank and Golan Heights as an occupied territory. Trump, on his part, has moved to recently recognize the territories as a part of Israel. In March 2019, the president formally recognized the Golan Heights as a part of Israel, a territory that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Since he came to office, Trump has carried out some moves to favor Israel that has had critics refer to him as the poster boy for Israel’s cause. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US Embassy to the city. Trump led diplomatic efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Arab world without recourse to the Palestinians. Many of the deals he had presented on the Israel-Palestinian conflict have been one-sided, with Palestinians having to make lots of concessions.
Pompeo will be visiting Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Thursday, making him the first US Secretary of State to do this.