A Republican delegation toured settlement businesses in the occupied West Bank last week, according to a report by pro-settler media outlet JNS.
Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) reportedly met with Israeli settlers and a number of Palestinian business leaders in the occupied West Bank.
The executive director of trip coordinator, US Israel Education Association, Heather Johnston, claimed that she had witnessed a “paradigm shift” in the senior members of Congress.
“Speaking to Israeli and Palestinian members of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, they got a totally different narrative from the one in the news or the one told by political leaders who have taken sides,” Johnston told JNS.
The delegation visited Hebron and the Ariel settlement industrial park, among other locations, in a trip designed to undermine the case for a boycott on the basis that West Bank settlements produce economic benefits for occupied Palestinians, an argument refuted by mainstream economists.
McMorris Rogers, acting Republican representative to the United Nations General Assembly, said: “I will be talking to my colleagues and urging them to see first-hand what is happening in Judea and Samaria [in terms of] economic cooperation”, using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank.
Rep. Roe, who leads the Republican party in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, claimed that the settler businesses in the occupied West Bank “will become a very useful force in this country”.