Mike Pence Says U.S. Embassy Will Open in Jerusalem Next Year

Mike Pence Says U.S. Embassy Will Open in Jerusalem Next Year

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.

That approach has been welcomed by many Israelis, while rankling with Palestinians, whose political and religious leaders have refused to meet Mr. Pence.

In his speech to the Parliament, Mr. Pence spoke in glowing terms of the long alliance between the United States and Israel, framing it as part of an epic battle.

“We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny,” Mr. Pence said.

Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian, dotted his address with biblical references and spoke of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem in historical and religious terms.


Arab Lawmakers Protest at Pence’s Speech

Arab members of Israel’s Parliament orchestrated a collective demonstration against the U.S. Embassy move as Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Jerusalem on Monday.


Photo by Pool photo by Ariel Schalit.

“The United States has chosen fact over fiction, and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” he said.

He scarcely mentioned the Palestinians and did not refer to their history in the Holy Land, nor to their territorial claims. He said the United States would support a two-state solution “if both sides agree.”

During a meeting with Mr. Pence before the speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said, “This is the first time that I stand here where both leaders can say those three words: ‘Israel’s capital Jerusalem,’ ”

The Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, wrote on Twitter that the speech “carried a message of hope for all people in the region.”

In a statement on her Facebook page, Israel’s culture minister, Miri Regev, called Mr. Pence “a very welcome guest here” and thanked him and Mr. Trump for endorsing the Israeli claim to Jerusalem and for cutting funding for the United Nations agency.

“Truth must be said and the truth is that Israel and Jerusalem belong to the Jewish people,” Ms. Regev wrote.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, will not meet Mr. Pence. He has called Mr. Trump’s Jerusalem declaration “a slap in the face.”

Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinians, said that Mr. Pence’s “messianic discourse” was “a gift to extremists.”

“His message to the rest of the world is clear: violate international law & resolutions and the US will reward you,” he said, according to his office’s Twitter account.

Mr. Pence has spoken of protecting Christian minorities in the Middle East, but he has been widely shunned by those same Christians for his embrace of the Israeli position on Jerusalem.

No Arab Christian leaders have agreed to meet with him during his visit, and he is not scheduled to visit Christian holy sites like the city of Nazareth, the West Bank town of Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified.

Mr. Pence canceled his last planned trip to the Holy Land before Christmas after Christian Arab leaders declined to meet with him.

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