(JERUSALEM) Vice President Mike Pence on Monday told Israels parliament that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, ahead of schedule, receiving a rousing ovation as he pledged to barrel ahead with a plan that has set off weeks of unrest and thrown U.S. peace efforts into disarray.
The move, in the first ever address of a sitting American vice president to the Israeli Knesset, marked the highlight of Pences three-day visit to Israel celebrating President Donald Trumps decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital.
The United States has chosen fact over fiction and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace, Pence said. Jerusalem is Israels capital in the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the Embassy will open by the end of next year.
Pence was preceded on the dais by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lavished his American guest with praise and gratitude. It was all part of an exceptionally warm welcome for Pence in Israel, which has been overjoyed by Trumps pivot on Jerusalem. But the move has infuriated the Palestinians, with whom Pence is not meeting, and upset Americas Arab allies as well.
A group of Arab lawmakers voiced their displeasure at the administrations perceived pro-Israel bias by raising banners reading Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and heckling Pence at the beginning of his address, before being forcibly removed from the plenum.
The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence. Its leader, Ayman Odeh, vowed they would not provide a silent backdrop to a man he called a dangerous racist. Continue Reading