Israelis Ecstatic, Palestinians Furious Over Pence's Knesset Speech
Israelis Ecstatic, Palestinians Furious Over Pence's Knesset Speech
Jerusalem: US embassy to move by end of 2019 - Pence
23 January, 2018, 01:52
The Palestinian leader will meet European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and the bloc's 28 foreign ministers on Monday on the sidelines of their monthly meeting, after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar visit last month.
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 United States was abandoning the peace process.
US -sponsored peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Trump has pledged to pursue a "deal of the century" between Israel and the Palestinians, who are seeking a state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pencetold Israeli lawmakers Monday that the U.S. would put plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem on a fast track, drawing angry denunciations from Arabs who were forcibly removed from the hall during his speech before Israel's parliament.
The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence.
Israel sees Jerusalem as its "eternal" capital and Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital broke with decades of worldwide consensus that the city's status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump and Pence both said that the U.S. would not make any decisions on the borders of an East and West Jerusalem, or a final status agreement of the city, which has always been considered to be determined by negotiations.
While Abbas made no reference to Trump's move on Jerusalem or Pence's visit to the city, his presence at the EU headquarters in Brussels was seized on by European officials as a chance to restate opposition to Trump's December 6 decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Mr Abbas will also "reiterate his commitment to the peace process" in the Middle East, Mr Al Malki said in an interview with AFP in Brussels.
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The Palestinians were planning a general strike on Tuesday to protest Trump's declaration.
The pact is usually signed with recognised states, and the European Union already has one with Israel.
Pence, who visited Egypt and Jordan before travelling to Israel, said that with its policy shift on Jerusalem, "the United States has chosen fact over fiction - and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace".
"We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny", Mr. Pence said.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, an Abbas adviser, reiterated that the United States "is no longer acceptable as a mediator" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pence, speaking at the military facility, said he hopes "the Palestinian Authority will soon re-engage". The vice president is now on a Middle East tour, with previous stops in Jordan and Egypt, where he has faced tension following the Trump administration's recent policy decisions.
At the end of the visit, Pence in remarks to the press said he "agreed to disagree" with King Abdullah on the impact of Trump's move. In the West Bank city of Nablus, dozens of Palestinians chanted against Trump and stepped on pictures of Pence in a sign of anger.
The Palestinians have said flatly that there can be no peace deal without East Jerusalem.
Mr. Trump has also threatened to shutter an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington and cut American donations to the United Nations agency that provides services for Palestinian refugees.
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