Who, me? President Barack Obama
Who, me? President Barack Obama Reuters

The United States will only defend Israel from boycotts targeting parts of the country within the 1949 Armistice Lines, the State Department declared Tuesday night. 

The announcement comes after President Barack Obama signed his "fast track" trade bill - which also contains legislation combating the BDS movement in Europe - into law on Monday. 

The anti-BDS amendment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is meant to discourage European governments from boycotting against Israel by leveraging free trade with the US. 

This amendment, pushed for by several pro-Israel groups as well as lawmakers, specifically mentions "politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel" because of its policies in "Israeli-controlled territories."

However, the State Department asserted Tuesday that "by conflating Israel and 'Israeli-controlled territories,'" the amendment "runs counter to longstanding US policy" toward Judea and Samaria. 

According to spokesman John Kirby, US policy has "strongly opposed boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel and will continue to do so." 

But, he added, both Democratic and Republican presidents have consistently opposed "Israeli settlements" in Judea and Samaria. 

Following that logic, Kirby continued, the government "does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them."

While Israel liberated Judea and Samaria from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, it did not formally annex the territory, rendering its legal status as different to the rest of the country.

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