Pence to delay trip to Mideast over tax bill

14 December, 2017, 18:12 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Pence delays Israel trip over GOP tax bill

White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he can preside over the Senate during a vote on the tax package.

US Vice President Mike Pence has delayed his upcoming visit to Israel by several days due to the Congressional vote on tax reforms, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks with officials, first responders and victims near the site of the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, in Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S., November 8, 2017.

Pence has been forced to adjust his schedule in the Middle East amid protests from leaders over Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. But Palestinian leaders said they would refuse to meet him.

Pence is is thought to have played a key role in the works that led to the Trump declaration in which the US President recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week, specifically because of his support base of of pro-Israeli evangelicals.

Rather than arriving on Sunday, Pence is now expected to fly in from Egypt on Wednesday evening.

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told reporters last week that the leadership had decided there would be "no formal communications" with USA officials in the wake of Trump's Jerusalem decision.

Delaying the Jerusalem visit allows Pence to cast that vote if tax reform moves forward next week.

The OIC called on the global community to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

"We say to Trump that it is insane that someone who doesn't own [Jerusalem] is giving [it] to one who doesn't deserve [it]", al-Huseini wrote.

Trump in the declaration also said he would put plans in motion to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, but the president signed a six-month waiver placing the move on hold. The decision - which follows rockets launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, including last night - was motivated by the army, quoted by local media, with security reasons.

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