A group of Republican senators sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John Trump46 percent of voters say Trump should concede immediately: poll Michigan county reverses course, votes unanimously to certify election results GOP senator: Trump shouldn’t fire top cybersecurity official MORE this week asking him to alter U.S. customs policy so that “Made in Israel” labels are put on products coming from the West Bank, a territory much of the world says is illegally occupied by Israeli settlements.
The letter, dated Monday and shared by Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a ‘mistake’ Annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery back on after backlash over cancellation Biden win revives immigration talk MORE (R-Ark.) on Twitter on Wednesday, is signed by Cotton, as well as fellow Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzRand Paul pledges to fight Biden on lockdowns ‘and forcing us to wear masks forever’ Ted Cruz slams fellow senator as a ‘complete ass’ over wearing mask Biden win revives immigration talk MORE (Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces ‘fleets’ House approves legislation providing 0 million to boost US 5G efforts The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Capital One – Facebook, Twitter CEOs testify on 2020 elections MORE (Fla.) and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia elections chief says Trump ‘suppressed’ GOP vote, cost himself state Georgia’s elections chief caught in GOP crosshairs Loeffler and Warnock agree to December debate MORE (Ga.).
Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria should be allowed to be labeled ‘Made in Israel.’ https://t.co/0nBZeEZrzC
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) November 18, 2020
The GOP senators called on Trump to reverse a 2016 Obama administration move to reestablish a 1995 policy that required products produced in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government’s term for the West Bank 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 senators wrote. “Unfortunately, the United Nations and some prominent members of the Democratic Party are working to oppose Israel and to support the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate and damage Israel economically.”
The senators added, “While it is our understanding that this labeling policy is not enforced by U.S. authorities, we are concerned that a future administration could choose to enforce these rules and thereby differentiate Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria, making them prime targets for BDS boycotts.”
“Your administration should continue its string of pro-Israel policy changes by undoing these misguided Clinton-era guidelines, thereby allowing Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria to be labeled as ‘Made in Israel,’ ” the senators concluded.
The letter was also sent to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoProgressive Democrats call on Pompeo to condemn Israeli demolition of Beduin village Biden speaks with leaders of Israel, India Trump’s election claims threaten his legacy — and the system’s integrity MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDeadlock leaves no clear path for lame-duck coronavirus deal The Hill’s 12:30 Report: House members-elect arrive for orientation Schumer, Pelosi want Heroes Act as ‘starting point’ in new COVID-19 relief talks MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad WolfChad WolfJudge says acting DHS secretary appointment unlawful, invalidates DACA suspension Federal official says voting security remains strong as polls begin to close Hillicon Valley: Officials express confidence in voting security amid early technical glitches | Unidentified robocall told millions to ‘stay home’ ahead of Election Day: report | QAnon’s danger rises with divisive election MORE.
Since 1967, all previous U.S. presidential administrations had considered the West Bank and Golan Heights occupied territory, rather than part of Israel.
However, the Trump administration has more recently taken steps to legitimize the territory occupied by Israel.
On Thursday, Pompeo is expected to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, making him the first U.S. secretary of State to do so.
Axios first reported the news last week, writing that Pompeo is expected to visit a winery in the Psagot settlement in the West Bank, which was earlier targeted among European Union efforts to label Israeli products from these areas as coming from occupied territory.
Trump formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019 in a reversal of decades of U.S. policy that considered the territory occupied since Israel captured it from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Other notable moves by the Trump administration in its increasingly pro-Israel policy include the formal recognition by the U.S. of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy to the city, as well as pursuing diplomatic relations with Israel between Arab- and Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East without the presence of Palestinian representatives.