Pompeo to make unprecedented visit to Golan Heights

Mike Pompeo to make unprecedented visit to Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Mike Pompeo. Credit: Reuters Photo

Mike Pompeo said he will make the first visit by a US secretary of state to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, after labelling the pro-Palestinian BDS movement an anti-Semitic "cancer".

Last year, President Donald Trump's administration made the controversial decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which the Jewish state seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967.

"Today I'll get a chance to visit the Golan Heights," Pompeo said during a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The simple recognition of this as part of Israel... was a decision President Trump made that is historically important and simply a recognition of the reality," he added.

Pompeo also announced that Washington will take measures against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Washington "will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic," he said.

"We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups," Pompeo said. "We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is."

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and has long accused it of anti-Semitism.

Activists strongly deny the charge, comparing the boycott to the economic isolation that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa.

A law passed in 2017 allows Israel to ban foreigners with links to BDS.

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