Mike Pence lands in Israel on visit overshadowed by Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration – National

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence started a go to to Israel on Sunday after being praised as a “nice pal” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shunned by the Palestinians over U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It’s the highest-level U.S. go to to the area since President Donald Trump made his declaration on Dec. 6 and promised to start the method of shifting the American embassy to the town, whose standing is on the coronary heart of the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

With the Palestinians boycotting Pence, the go to offers little apparent alternative to construct bridges in direction of peace.

READ MORE: Mike Pence tells U.S. troops no immigration talks till authorities reopens

However it gave Pence, a conservative Christian, and Netanyahu, a right-winger who has hailed U.S. evangelicals for his or her help of Israel, a possibility to shine a highlight on the go to and their very own heat relationship for a group that serves as an influence base for Trump and his vice chairman.

Earlier than arriving in Israel, Pence held conferences with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan and U.S. officers touring with him stated that he had sought to encourage them to strain the Palestinians to return to peace talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, calling Trump’s declaration a “slap within the face’, has rejected Washington as an sincere dealer in any future talks with Israel. Abbas left for an abroad go to earlier than Pence arrived.

WATCH: Reporter asks Nikki Haley if U.S. on ‘proper aspect of historical past’ over Jerusalem vote





Pence, who flew into Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport from Jordan on a U.S. navy aircraft after visiting U.S. troops on the Syrian border, was met by Israel’s tourism minister, Yariv Levin. Pence, who traveled to the Center East regardless of a U.S. authorities shutdown, made no assertion on arrival in Israel.

Netanyahu, addressing his cupboard earlier on Sunday, described Pence as a “nice pal of the State of Israel” and stated they’d focus on U.S. efforts “to halt Iran’s aggression, the Iranian nuclear program, and methods to advance peace and safety within the area.”

“Anybody who really needs to meet these objectives is aware of there is no such thing as a substitute to the USA’ management,” stated Netanyahu, who is because of maintain talks with Pence on Monday.

Trump’s shift on Jerusalem overturned a long time of U.S. coverage that its standing needs to be determined in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. His declaration drew common condemnation from Arab leaders and widespread criticism elsewhere.

Israel’s authorities regards Jerusalem because the everlasting and indivisible capital of the nation, though that isn’t acknowledged internationally. Palestinians really feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem have to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In feedback delivered in Egypt, his first cease on the Center East go to, Pence stated Washington would help a two-state resolution for Israelis and Palestinians if the 2 sides agreed to it.

“CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES”

Visiting Jordan on Sunday earlier than flying to Israel, Pence instructed its monarch, King Abdullah, that Washington was dedicated to preserving the established order of holy websites in Jerusalem, a metropolis sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

WATCH: Israel raises threshold to cede elements of Jerusalem in peace deal





Pointing to “difficult circumstances,” the king stated he hoped Washington would “attain out and discover the best approach to transfer ahead.” Pence instructed reporters he “agreed to disagree” with King Abdullah on the influence of Trump’s transfer.

U.S.-sponsored peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Trump has pledged to pursue a “deal of the century” between Israel and the Palestinians, who’re in search of a state within the occupied West Financial institution and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

READ MORE: Jordan King asks Pence to ‘rebuild belief’ in two-state resolution to Israel-Palestine battle

Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s particular envoy to the peace course of, remained in Israel for Pence‘s go to after arriving on Wednesday.

After assembly Netanyahu, Pence will handle the Israeli parliament, whose Arab members stated they’d boycott the occasion. On the second day of his two-day go to on Tuesday, he’ll attend Judaism’s Western Wall in Jerusalem and can lay a wreath on the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance heart within the metropolis.

Pence is assumed to have pushed exhausting for each Jerusalem’s recognition as Israel’s capital and relocation of the U.S. embassy to the town. It’s a resolution that was common with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Pence.

As Pence arrived, a small group of Palestinian protesters exterior Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the normal birthplace of Jesus Christ, burned a poster of the vice chairman which additionally bore the phrases: “Pence go residence.” (Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Enhancing by Stephen Farrell, William Maclean and Adrian Croft)

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