Report: Pompeo to visit town in Judea and Samaria

According to Axios, Secretary of State planning to visit Golan Heights as well as Israeli town in Judea and Samaria next week.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to visit the Golan Heights as well as an Israeli town in Judea and Samaria during his visit to Israel next week, both firsts for a US Secretary of State, Barak Ravid of Axios reported on Thursday.

The trip seems intended to highlight the Trump administration's policy shifts on Israel. For Pompeo, it also has domestic political significance ahead of a possible presidential run in 2024, notes Ravid.

Pompeo has repeatedly highlighted his close links to Israel, including by addressing the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem.

He was also the first Secretary of State to make an official visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Last November, Pompeo annulled a State Department legal opinion from 1978 which deemed that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are “inconsistent with international law."

Pompeo's announcement came a week after the EU high court had ruled that all EU member states must place a special label on goods originating from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

That ruling came in response to an appeal by the owner of a winery in Psagot. According to Ravid, after Pompeo’s announcement, the owner of the winery named a new series of wine after Pompeo and sent him a case of wine bottles.

Pompeo is planning to visit that same winery next week. It is unclear whether it will be designated as an official visit or a private visit, or whether any Israeli officials will accompany him.

The US embassy in Israel and the Israel's Shin Bet security agency have been preparing for the unprecedented trip.

A spokesperson said the State Department had nothing to add about the trip at this time.

Pompeo is also planning to visit the Golan Heights, according to Ravid’s report. This follows President Donald Trump’s announcement in March of 2019 that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region.

The Israeli government then established a new village named “Trump Heights," though construction has yet to start 18 months later.

It's unclear whether Pompeo will visit the site of the new village.