Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pence's visit to Israel delayed

Pence's visit to Israel delayed

In a Friday morning phone call with reporters who will travel with Pence next week, senior administration officials kept adding superlatives as they described the United States' partnership with Egypt, which has been strained following President Donald Trump's decision earlier this month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. Embassy there.

The trip to Israel follows President Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and decision to move the USA embassy there. The vice president can cast a deciding vote in the case of a tie in the Senate, and Pence has already done so several times this year. With Republicans holding a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate - and some key Republican senators still uncommitted - Pence holds the tiebreaking vote in the event of an even split.

The former IN governor was originally set to visit Bethlehem and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party, said last week that Pence was "not welcome IN Palestine".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Indiana Governor Michael Pence in Jerusalem on December 29, 2014.

He will cap off the trip with a stop at a U.S. base in Germany and return Saturday.

Trump's nod to Israel on Jerusalem came at a time of mounting speculation about the terms of an Israeli-Palestinian deal the United States might propose.

Pence had originally been scheduled to arrive in Israel on Sunday and address the Parliament, or Knesset, the following day. On Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he would not meet with Pence, and the pope of the Egyptian Coptic church, who leads the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East, also canceled his planned meeting in Cairo with the vice president.


Since the announcement, several Trump administration officials have told the Washington Post that Trump didn't have a full understanding of the implications of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

Pence said that as he travels through the area he will also "reaffirm our commitment to peace in the region".

Edelstein's spokesperson said Pence would likely speak at the Knesset on either Wednesday or Thursday.

"We say to Trump that it is insane that someone who doesn't own [Jerusalem] is giving [it] to one who doesn't deserve [it]", al-Huseini wrote.

His trip to the Middle East, in which he will also be visiting Egypt and the Palestinian authority, is partly meant to mend ties with Arab partners in the aftermath of the controversial declaration on Jerusalem.

In the latest incident, on Wednesday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said it had intercepted two rockets, and that a third landed in open territory.

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