In Israel, Pence hastens US embassy transfer



    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shakes arms with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu throughout a gathering on the Prime Minister’s workplace in Jerusalem January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ariel Schalit/Pool

    In a speech earlier than the Israeli parliament, US Vice President Mike Pence mentioned that the US embassy will transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the top of 2019 and referred to as on the Palestinians to affix direct peace talks with Israel.

    The vice chairman’s timeline drastically cuts earlier White House estimates of three to 4 years for the controversial embassy transfer.

    “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the US Embassy in Jerusalem – and the embassy will open before the end of next year,” Pence mentioned.

    Pence is the primary senior US official to go to the contested metropolis since President Donald Trump sparked Palestinian protests and worldwide condemnation by declaring it Israel’s capital and asserting the embassy transfer.

    His speech – stuffed with biblical imagery and met with rousing applause from Israeli lawmakers – was slammed by high Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat as “messianic.”

    Holding posters saying “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” Israeli Arab lawmakers stood up in the course of the begin of Pence’s speech in protest and had been then shoved out of the Knesset chamber by ushers amid shouts.

    Pence’s two-day go to comes at a low-point in Washington’s relationship with the Palestinians.

    Palestinian officers are boycotting Pence’s go to and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that the US is now disqualified from its decades-long function as the primary mediator between Israelis and Palestinians.

    Pence referred to as on the Palestinians to “return to the table,” and mentioned the US helps a two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle “if the parties agree.”

    “Peace can only come through dialogue,” Pence mentioned.

    Trump’s December 6 Jerusalem declaration, which included a promise to maneuver the US embassy, upended many years of US coverage in direction of the divided holy metropolis.

    Palestinians noticed the transfer as endorsing Israeli management of East Jerusalem, which they declare because the capital of a future Palestinian state.

    Erekat, in a tweet, mentioned the speech proved “that the US Administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.”

    Israelis in the meantime welcomed Pence, declaring Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as historic.

    Netanyahu addressed Pence in English as “my good friend Mike” and mentioned that “no other American vice president has had a greater commitment to Israel and its people.”

    Netanyahu mentioned Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is among the many most essential moments in Zionist historical past.

    In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel captured the japanese half of Jerusalem, now dwelling to over 300,000 Palestinians, and later annexed the territory in a transfer that was not internationally acknowledged.

    Deepening Palestinian resentment, Washington introduced final week that it’s withholding 65 million from the UN refugee company accountable for Palestinians.

    Ayman Odeh, the chief of the primary Israeli Arab celebration, referred to as Pence on Twitter “a dangerous racist whose presence here is only to harm any possibility of peace.”

    Later on Monday, Pence and his spouse Karen can have dinner with Netanyahu and his spouse Sara on the prime minister’s residence.

    On Tuesday, Pence will go to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western Wall, the holiest web site for Jewish prayer. Israeli officers won’t accompany the vice chairman to the holy web site, which is situated in territory claimed by Palestinians.

    Pence’s Israel go to is the final leg of a regional tour that included stops in Jordan and Egypt.(dpa/NAN)