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Pence: Peace Depends on Palestinians

Mike Pence and Benjamin Netanyahu, January 2018 (Photo: GPO/ASHERNET)

Even as Vice President Pence visited the Holy Land, with a warm welcome from his friends and allies in Israel, Palestinians continued to act out in opposition to America and the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Jerusalem Post reports that Pence spoke directly to the ongoing conflict and chaos, stating that any hope for peace depends on the Palestinians returning to the peace process:

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday the timing of a long-awaited US Middle East peace initiative depended on the return of Palestinians to negotiations.

President Donald Trump's advisers have been working on the outlines of a plan for some time. But Palestinians ruled out Washington as a peace broker after the US president's December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The White House has been working with our partners in the region to see if we can develop a framework for peace," Pence told Reuters in an interview in Jerusalem on the last leg of his three-day Middle East trip. "It all just depends now on when the Palestinians are going to come back to the table."

Trump's Jerusalem move angered the Palestinians, sparked protests in the Middle East and raised concern among Western countries that it could further destabilize the region. Palestinians see east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

Pence said in the interview that he and the president believed the decision, under which the United States also plans to move its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, would improve peacemaking prospects.

Pence discussed the Jerusalem issue during talks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday and Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday. He said the two leaders had agreed to convey to the Palestinians that the United States was eager to resume peace talks.

"We want them (the Palestinians) to know the door is open. We understand they're unhappy with that decision but the president wanted me to convey our willingness and desire to be a part of the peace process going forward," Pence said...

Tags: US-Israel Relations , Palestinians , Peace Process

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Landscape photo of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock in the foreground.

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