Thursday, November 19, 2020

  • Thursday, November 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Here is the part of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's press release today that got all the attention:

Today, the Department of State is initiating new guidelines to ensure that country of origin markings for Israeli and Palestinian goods are consistent with our reality-based foreign policy approach.  In accordance with this announcement, all producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities – most notably Area C under the Oslo Accords - will be required to mark goods as “Israel”, “Product of Israel”, or “Made in Israel” when exporting to the United States.  This approach recognizes that Area C producers operate within the economic and administrative framework of Israel and their goods should be treated accordingly.  This update will also eliminate confusion by recognizing that producers in other parts of the West Bank are for all practical purposes administratively separate and that their goods should be marked accordingly.
This all makes perfect sense. The purpose of marking country of origin is not the physical location but for consumers to know which national regulations and policies were enforced in the production of the goods. 

The next part of Pompeo's press release didn't get noticed as much, but it is just as important:

 Goods in areas of the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority maintains relevant authorities shall be marked as products of  “West Bank” and goods produced in Gaza will be marked as products of  “Gaza.”  Under the new approach, we will no longer accept “West Bank/Gaza” or similar markings, in recognition that Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively separate and should be treated accordingly.
This is a huge deal. The UN and Europe throw the West Bank and Gaza under the umbrella of "Occupied Palestinian Territories" (even though no one can credibly claim Gaza is occupied) and still pretend that they are one unit, even though they have different leaders, different policies, different geography, even different histories. 

Treating them as separate units means that the US could, for example, loosen up rules for the West Bank while keeping stricter policies for Hamas-run Gaza. People could buy West Bank olive oil knowing that the profits probably don't go to Hamas. 

This is a major change in policy, and it could lead to other countries doing the same. And if everyone would do that, it would benefit the West Bank Palestinians by not tying them to Hamas decisions and Hamas terror.

(h/t Irene)

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