US Vice President Mike Pence to Visit Israel Jan. 22-23


The visit, now scheduled for January 19-23, had been delayed due to unrest in the region following Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The PA chief also directed officials to boycott their American counterparts and it appears that this too will apply to the US vice president.

Pence is not expected to meet with the Palestinians, who have sought to make Israel-annexed east Jerusalem their capital. The White House said Pence will address the need to combat terrorism and help persecuted religious minorities.

Pence will also give a speech at the Knesset, visit the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, the official said.

Pence will leave on January 19 for Egypt, where he will hold talks the next day with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He will then visit Israel on 22-23 January, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

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Trump's decision upended decades of US policy, which said the final status of Jerusalem should be determined through peace negotiations.

Pence was originally scheduled to travel the week before Christmas, but postponed the trip so that he could remain in Washington in case his vote was needed to pass tax legislation favored by President Donald Trump.

The worldwide community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the full city.

"The Vice President is looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel to discuss ways to work together to fight terrorism and improve our national security", Farah said. The White House decision on Jerusalem also prompted leading Muslim and Christian clerics in Egypt to refuse to meet with the vice president in Cairo.

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The status of Jerusalem has always been a central issue in the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump's decision on Jerusalem and announcement in December that the United States would start the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv led to uproar and protest in the region.

Egypt has long maintained its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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