American Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the Holy Land today as part of his visit to the Middle East. Upon meeting with PM Netanyahu, The Times of Israel's Raphael Ahren reports, Pence expressed hopes that the Jerusalem embassy move will usher in a "new era" of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:
US Vice President Mike Pence said the US administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would aid peace talks and expressed hope the sides were at a “new dawn” of negotiations Monday, as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a trip overshadowed by Ramallah’s refusal to regard the US as a peace broker.
Pence said it was his “great honor … to be in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” in a meeting with Netanyahu Monday, a day after he landed in the country.
The trip by Pence is the first by a major figure from the US since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a December 6 address. While Israel has feted Pence for the move, the Palestinians reacted furiously and are refusing to meet with the vice president, who arrived in the city Sunday night.
Pence repeated the administration stance that Trump’s “historic” declaration “would create an opportunity to move on, in good faith negotiations, between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on issues that can be discussed and President Trump truly believes can be resolved.”
“I’m hopeful that we’re at the dawn of a new era of renewed discussions to achieve a peaceful resolutions to the decades-long conflict that has affected this region,” he said.
Netanyahu told Pence he had never before been able to join a foreign leader in calling the city the capital.