Pence: The US Embassy will open in Jerusalem before the end of next year

Pence prays in the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday

In his two-day visit to Israel, US Vice President Mike Pence visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

“It is my great honor to pray here at this sacred place. God bless the Jewish people and God bless the State of Israel always,” he said.

His visit to Jerusalem came amid an escalating dispute between Israel and Palestinians over the status of the city.

Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital On December 6 which outraged the Palestinians and all Muslims worldwide. They accused the US of siding with Israel.

 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump`s move disqualified Washington from acting as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Abbas said he would not meet with administration officials and called off a meeting with Pence that had been scheduled for mid-December.

In a meeting with European Union foreign ministers Saturday, Abbas urged EU member states to recognize Palestine state in the pre-1967 lines.

In a landmark address to the Knesset on Monday, Pence pledged the US would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the “end of next year.” 

“The US Embassy will open [in Jerusalem] before the end of next year,” he said.

The embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem are “in the best interest of peace,” said Pence on Monday.

“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction,” he added.

 If both sides agree, Pence declared, the United States “will support a two-state solution”, and he called on the Palestinians “to return to the negotiating table for peace talks”.

“Today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue,” he said.

@Malaysia World News

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