The Palestinian Authority (PA) “foreign minister” Riyad al-Malki on Friday blasted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that products manufactured in towns in Judea and Samaria will be labelled as “made in Israel”.
In a statement quoted by the PA’s Wafa news agency, Malki said the announcement represents a de facto US recognition of Israel’s “annexation of the illegal settlements to its sovereignty.”
“[Pompeo’s] announcement is a finishing of Netanyahu's policy of annexing settlements and consequently the occupied West Bank to Israel, which is a precise implementation of the "deal of the century," he charged.
The PA official added that this announcement necessitates immediate action at the international level, and must be rejected with all the available legal means. “It is a crime and those responsible for it must be punished, whoever and wherever they are,” he stressed.
Pompeo, who visited the community of Psagot on Thursday, a first for a Secretary of State, announced new guidelines to ensure that the country of origin of goods in the Israeli-Palestinian context is in line with US foreign policy, meaning that products from Judea and Samaria will also be labelled as “made in Israel”.
In 2016, the Obama administration republished country-of-origin labeling guidelines introduced by the Clinton administration in 1995 and which require "Made in West Bank" labels to be put on Israeli goods produced in Judea and Samaria.
Before Pompeo’s visit, a group of four Republican Senators sent a letter to US President Donald Trump, urging him to issue an executive order allowing goods produced in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be labelled as “Made in Israel”.