US Vice President Mike Pence has postponed his visit to the Middle East to mid-January, the White House announced on Monday, December 18. Pence was expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, December 20, for a visit anticipated to be marked by growing protests following the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haaretz has quoted sources saying that “delays are occurring because the Trump administration’s Mideast peace initiative is ‘stuck’ over the ongoing Jerusalem crisis.”
Joint List lawmakers will not be attending US Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset in January in protest of the US decision regarding Jerusalem. In a statement issued on Wednesday, December 13, Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said the 13-member parliamentary bloc will boycott the parliamentary address “to send a clear message to the US administration and the world that there are citizens here who strongly oppose Trump’s declaration and to clarify that the US has lost its place as the exclusive mediator of negotiations.” “West Jerusalem will be recognized as Israel’s capital by the whole world as soon as the government of Israel recognizes East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” added Odeh.
MK Odeh’s announcement came hours after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians will not accept any future role for the US in the peace process due to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. Over the weekend, Abbas’s diplomatic adviser said the meeting with Pence was canceled “because the US has crossed red lines” on Jerusalem.