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Sen. Tom Cotton. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

A group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter to President Trump this week urging him to issue an executive order allowing goods produced in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be labeled “Made in Israel." Axios obtained a copy of the letter.

Why it matters: While the rest of the world views the settlements as illegal under international law and not part of Israel, the Trump administration has taken several steps intended to legitimize them and blur the differentiation between Israel and the West Bank.

  • The letter — signed by Sens. Cotton, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) — pushes the administration to issue the order before Jan. 20.

The letter was sent to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.

  • The senators warned that a Biden administration would return to a policy of differentiating between Israel and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
  • That would make goods from the settlements “prime targets for BDS boycotts," they wrote, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Backstory:

  • Since 1967, all previous U.S. administrations had treated the West Bank and Golan Heights as occupied territory and the settlements as illegitimate.
  • In 1995, after the Oslo Accords were signed and the Palestinian Authority was formed, the Clinton administration issued guidelines that required goods from the settlements to be labeled as “made in the West Bank." The guidelines were not really enforced.
  • In 2016, the Obama administration republished the guidelines and warned that labeling settlement goods as “Made in Israel” could lead to fines. This was seen at the time as a diplomatic signal to Israel over settlement expansions.

What they're saying: The senators claimed that the UN and prominent members of the Democratic Party support BDS and seek to damage Israel economically.

  • “Your administration should undo these misguided Clinton-era guidelines. …This decision would support Israel and push back against anti-Semitism and the BDS movement," they wrote.

What to watch: The move would put another hurdle in place for Biden if, as expected, he seeks to roll back Trump's policies on settlements.

Driving the news: Pompeo is expected to be the first U.S. secretary of state to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank tomorrow.

Go deeper: Pompeo's unprecedented trip

Go deeper

Nov 25, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.