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Pence arrives in Israel

23 January, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • Why is Jerusalem so central to Pence‚Äôs Middle East visit

Mike Pence arrived in Israel on Sunday evening for a three-day visit, the third stop in his delayed trip to the Middle East.

"President Trump has made preparations to immediately move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem", Mr Pence said to loud applause from his audience of Israeli politicians and dignitaries.

The U.S. will set its relocation plans in motion in the coming weeks, with the facility slated to open by the end of next year, Pence said.

In comments earlier Monday at the Prime Minister's office, Pence had said that the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital did not mean the U.S. was abandoning the peace process. In his meeting with Egypt's president, Pence pledged firm US backing in the nation's fight against Islamist militants and said ties between the two countries had never been stronger after a period of "drifting apart". They say the USA can not be a mediator after the decision and have pre-emptively rejected any peace plan presented by the Trump administration. The members were forcefully removed from the hall.

Last week, Abbas said that Trump's so-called Middle East peace efforts are the "slap of the century" after his recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's capital.

The Vice-President was careful to point out that the USA supported maintaining the status quo in regards to holy sites in Jerusalem.

Abdullah had warned against declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital.


Holding signs reading "Pence you are desecrating our land" and "Pence go home", the protesters at one point burned a large photo of the USA vice president, cheering and waving Palestinian flags as it burned on the ground.

Pence addressed another key part of Trump's December speech in his Knesset speech, saying the U.S. would move its embassy to Jerusalem by next year.

Arab-Israeli lawmakers had said earlier that they would boycott the Parliament speech.

The U.S. Embassy building in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 20, 2017.

The Israeli prime minister thanked President Donald Trump for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, "which I know you supported and championed", Netanyahu told Pence. The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital.

But Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has already nixed that idea. He said: "America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America".

"We are keen on continuing on the way of negotiations because we believe it is the only way forward to reach a negotiated solution and peace between us and Israel", Abbas said before talks with Mogherini. "Peace can only come through dialogue", he said.

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