Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Israel next week to reaffirm President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to White House sources who said Pence will strongly support the new recognition despite violence in the region and diplomatic protests by regional officials.
Pence’s office had extended an invitation to meet with Palestinian officials while in the region, but the Palestinian Authority rejected the offer, according to the White House. The vice president also extended meeting invitations to Egypt’s Coptic Christian Pope and Grand Imam, but both were turned down, according to administration officials.
Pence is remaining defiant in the face of ongoing protests and diplomatic fallout following Trump’s declaration, and will speak in front of Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, where he will “strongly reiterate his commitment to Israel and support the acknowledgement of Jerusalem as Israel capital,” according to one senior White House official briefed on the matter.
Pence, on his first trip to the Middle East since taking office, will seek to bolster the administration’s new policy and reiterate its commitment to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians amid violent protests across the region in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem.
Pence will be the first U.S. official to address Israel’s parliament since Trump directed the State Department to begin moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Read more from “Pence Faces Down Arab Threats Ahead of First Official Trip to Israel” HERE)