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US Vice President ‘not welcome’ in Palestine, official say; Americans fume

Saturday December 9, 2017 7:10 PM, OIC-UNA

Jibril Rajoub
[Jibril Rajoub: “The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine,” said Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah. ]

Ramallah: A senior Palestinian official said Thursday that US Vice President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” during his upcoming regional visit after a White House decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, AFP reported.

“The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine,” said Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah.

Rajoub also signaled that Abbas would not meet with Pence during his planned visit later this month.

“President Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made” about Jerusalem. Abbas has not made similar comments and his office could not immediately be reached.

The White House warned Thursday that cancelling a planned meeting between Abbas and Pence in the wake of the US policy shift on Jerusalem would be “counterproductive”.

US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel. Pence’s trip now risks becoming a lightning rod for Palestinian anger.

In an effort to keep the trip on the rails, the White House is likely to only consider the meeting canceled if they hear that from Abbas himself.

Abbas said Trump has disqualified the United States from its traditional role as peace broker in the Middle East conflict.

Meanwhile, the White House warned Thursday that canceling a planned meeting between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Vice President Mike Pence in the wake of the US policy shift on Jerusalem would be “counterproductive.”

Amid indications that Abbas may withdraw from a planned meeting later this month, a White House aide said Pence “still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled” and “believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting.”

Pence is due to travel to Egypt and Israel in the second half of December, a visit that has taken on extra significance in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


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