Vice President Mike Pence met with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu at his office in Yerushalayim today and called U.S. recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital the “dawn of a new era” in the Middle East.
“In making his historic announcement on December the 6th, President [Donald] Trump did so convinced that by recognizing Israel’s capital of Jerusalem, that we would create an opportunity to move on in good faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on issues that can be discussed, and President Trump truly believes can be resolved,” said Pence, adding that he is “hopeful that we are at the dawn of a new era of renewed discussions to achieve a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict that has affected this region.”
Pence was greeted in the capital with a welcoming ceremony normally reserved for heads of state. The bilateral meeting was the first between Netanyahu and a top U.S. official since Trump last month announced the U.S. policy changes on Jerusalem.
“Honorable vice president, for several years, I have had the great privilege of standing here and receiving hundreds of leaders,” Netanyahu said. “I welcome them in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Yet this is the first time that I stand here and both of us can say, ‘Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.’”
“I want to thank U.S. President Donald Trump for his historical declaration, which I know you supported and were proud of,” Netanyahu added. “I welcome you, good friend, to Jerusalem. Welcome.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will request that the European Union officially recognize a Palestinian state during a meeting with European foreign ministers Monday.
Abbas will meet with EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and with all 28 foreign ministers of EU member states on the sidelines of the group’s monthly meeting in Brussels.
PA Foreign Ninister Riyad al-Maliki stated Sunday that Abbas will urge the EU to recognize a Palestinian state as a direct response to the recent U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. According to al-Maliki, Abbas will also “reiterate his commitment to the peace process.”
Yet despite the Palestinian efforts, EU officials purportedly stated that the bloc would not recognize a Palestinian state. Rather, the EU will leave final status agreements to the parties while studying methods to advance a two-state solution. The EU may also consider forming an “association agreement” with the Palestinians.
Abbas’s meeting with Mogherini and EU foreign ministers comes just one month after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a similar meeting with the EU leadership in Brussels. During that meeting, Netanyahu expressed confidence that most European countries will follow the precedent set by the Trump administration’s policy changes on Jerusalem. Mogherini reiterated the bloc’s policy of only recognizing the status of Jerusalem following the outcome of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. JNS.ORG