US Vice President critical of politicians for causing shutdown

Frederick Owens
January 23, 2018

He made no reference to Mr Trump's move on Jerusalem or to comments on the issue made, also on Monday, in Jerusalem by US Vice President Mike Pence.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech to the Israeli parliament on Monday that highlighted a policy shift that has stoked Palestinian anger and worldwide concern.

Arab lawmakers in Israel's parliament have been tossed out from the house for heckling US Vice President Mike Pence at the start of his speech.

As Pence was set to begin his speech, a group of around a dozen Arab Israeli lawmakers shouted in protest, with some holding signs saying Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.

Abbas and other Palestinian leaders refused to meet Pence, making his visit a rare one by a high-ranking United States official not to include talks with the Palestinians.

At the time, most United States officials thought it would take a few years to come up with plans to move the embassy.

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"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel", Trump said.

Abbas briefed both officials in separate meetings on the latest developments in Palestine, particularly regarding Jerusalem and the latest USA declaration of the city as capital of Israel.

"Abdullah, a key U.S. ally, said he had "continuously voiced over the past concerns regarding the USA decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian Israeli conflict". "He righted a 70 year wrong, he kept his promise to the American people", he said in reference to the Washington's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He added that the United States has directly committed more than $110 million to help Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East to rebuild after years of repressive wars, and called on Israel and others to join the effort to restore a "rich diversity" to the region. "Peace can only come through dialogue".

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Pence to Israel, and praised the vice president as a "great friend of Israel".

Palestinian peacemarker Hanan Ashrawi was among those who condemned Pence, saying: 'The American side can not talk about the peace process after it undermined it by declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel'. His trip had been scheduled to include a visit to Bethlehem, but the Palestinian Authority is boycotting his visit, so the West Bank itinerary was canceled.

"The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement", Pence said.

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