The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Jerusalem
US Vice President Mike Pence is in Jerusalem on Monday, the first senior US official to visit the contested city since President Donald Trump sparked Palestinian protests and international condemnation by declaring it Israel’s capital.
Pence is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. He will address the Israeli parliament at 1400 local time (1200 GMT), making him the first senior US official to do so since President George W Bush in 2008.
The vice president’s visit comes as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that the US is now disqualified from its decades-long role as the main mediator between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israelis meanwhile embraced Trump’s decision with Netanyahu, saying on Sunday that there is “no substitute for US leadership”.
Trump’s December 6 Jerusalem declaration outraged Palestinians, who saw the move as endorsing Israeli control of East Jerusalem, claimed by Palestinians as their future capital.
Pence is not scheduled to meet any Palestinian officials and Israeli Arab lawmakers are boycotting his speech in protest.
Later on Monday Pence will have dinner with Netanyahu and his wife Sara at the prime minister’s residence.
On Tuesday, Pence will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jewish prayer, which is located in East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed the territory in a move that was not internationally recognized.
Source: Alliance news