Monday, 23 July, 2018

Palestinian leader urges European Union to recognize state, boost role

Eighth Week in a Row Marchers in Tel Aviv Call for Netanyahu Resignation Eighth Week in a Row Marchers in Tel Aviv Call for Netanyahu Resignation
Charlie Simmons | 23 January, 2018, 02:30

He pledged Monday that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel's capital, before the end of next year.

Israeli-Arab lawmakers were removed from a speech by Vice President Pence in the Knesset after taking out signs and protesting.

In December, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Department to begin the process of moving the embassy.

The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence over Donald Trump's decision to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

At a meeting in Brussels with European Union foreign ministers, Abbas repeated his call for East Jerusalem as capital as he urged European Union governments to recognise a state of Palestine immediately, arguing that this would not disrupt negotiations with Israel on a peace settlement for the region.

But it gave Pence, a conservative Christian, and Netanyahu, a right-winger who has hailed USA evangelicals for their support of Israel, an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the visit and their own warm relationship for a community that serves as a power base for Trump and his vice president.

Netanyahu also thanked Trump in the statement, referred to Pence as a "dear friend" and called the visit an opportunity "to further strengthen our remarkable alliance".

After Pence's speech, Edelstein gave the vice president a gift basket of products made in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, including wine from two wineries, a sesame-based fudgelike treat called halvah and the savory condiment tahini.

Trump's decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and move the embassy ramped up tensions in the region and was condemned by 128 counties - including Britain, France and Germany - in a United Nations resolution.

Later on Monday, Abbas said "the Europeans agreed with us about the issue of Jerusalem. they understand it but they have not made a decision about the recognition yet because it needs another meeting".

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"I've had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of world leaders and welcome them, all of them, to Israel's capital, Jerusalem", said Netanyahu.

Pence said. "We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, good over evil, and liberty over tyranny".

"The Palestinian Authority has been absent from direct negotiations since 2014". The U.S. decision led to outrage across the occupied territories, as well as in neighboring countries.

Likud MK Sharren Haskel hailed Vice President Mike Pence's Knesset address Monday afternoon, calling it an "amazing" and "important speech" with ramifications for the entire Middle East, laying out America's commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its atomic ambitions.

Pence said the American administration urged the Palestinians to return to negotiations. "We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values and your fight is our fight", he said.

Later, after meeting US troops near the Syrian border, Pence said he and Abdullah had "a very frank discussion".

Before traveling to Israel, Pence and his team met with Jordan's King Abdullah II and other officials on Sunday.

Israel views Jerusalem as its unified capital.

Whoever won't discuss peace with the Americans doesn't want peace.

On Tuesday, Pence, a devout Christian, will visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

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