Palestinian official says Pence is no longer welcome in Palestinian territory ahead of visit

Following US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a senior Fatah official of the Palestinian Authority stated that US Vice President Mike Pence is not welcome in Palestinian territory and that his requested meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "will not take place."
PA disinvites US Vice President following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The tension surrounding US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel continues to grow as senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said Thursday evening that US Vice President Mike Pence, who is due to visit the Palestinian Authority this month, is not invited. “He is not wanted in Palestine,” Rajoub said. Meanwhile, the White House made it clear that recognizing Jerusalem does not signify giving up on the peace process.

"In the name of Fatah, I say that we will not accept Trump's deputy inside Palestinian Authority territory," Rajoub added. “He asked to meet with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] on December 19 in Bethlehem. No such meeting will take place."

Fatah officials says Pence is not welcome Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing that the US does not know of any other countries planning to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the near future. “I‘m not aware of any countries that we anticipate that happening at any point soon,” Sanders told reporters. “I‘m not saying that they aren‘t, but I‘m not aware of them.”

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

As previously reported by JOL, amid mass riots in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in response to American recognition of Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended Trump on his decision. “We were all moved to hear President Trump's historic statement, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and this statement is – of course – based on ancient right,” Netanyahu stated. “The Jewish People determined Jerusalem to be its capital 3,000 years ago. Here our forefathers walked. Here our kings ruled. Here our prophets preached. Here are our roots.”

"This is an uplifting and unifying moment for the right, the left, the religious, the secular,” added Netanyahu, without mention of the Israeli Arab minority. Meanwhile, during the days preceding the Wednesday’s speech, Netanyahu reportedly had two additional phone calls with Trump, during which he emphasized the historical significance of such a declaration and clarified that Israel would maintain the status quo in Jerusalem, no matter what.

In addition to many Western European countries, which have condemned Trump’s speech, the European Union clarified on Thursday that the decision was contrary to Europe's position and could "return us to darker times." Despite such backlash, Netanyahu is due to visit the European Union, in what will be the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister in 22 years.



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