Israeli-Arab lawmakers removed from Pence speech after protesting


Notably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not applaud when Pence said the USA would support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "if both sides agree".

But during a speech to the Knesset - Israel's parliament - Monday afternoon (local time), Pence surprised his audience by declaring that the US would not re-certify the Iran deal when it comes up for renewal in May, virtually guaranteeing that the USA will reimpose economic sanctions against Iran.

Mike Pence said today that the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next year - earlier than had been expected.

It is the highest-level USA visit to the region since President Donald Trump made his declaration on December 6 and promised to begin the process of moving the American embassy to the city, whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Arab lawmakers were escorted from the chamber by Knesset ushers after they attempted to disrupt the vice president's speech. The Palestinian Authority, which is boycotting Pence's visit to the Middle East, also regards Jerusalem as its capital, should a two-state solution bring statehood to Palestine.

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem broke with worldwide consensus on the best way forward in Middle East peace moves, and his freeze on some funding to the Palestinians has angered many in the region and sparked financial uncertainty at the United Nations agency working in the territories.

The visit to Israel comes a week after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cursed Trump in a speech to the Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council, saying the USA could no longer serve as a mediator with Israel.

Mr Abbas will also "reiterate his commitment to the peace process" in the Middle East, Mr Al Malki said in an interview with AFP in Brussels. He is expected to encourage increased mediation from European Union countries in addition to recognition of a Palestinian state along pre-1967 war lines. Enraged Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected any push for peace presented by the Trump administration.

"It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy", said the vice president, highlighting the fact that, contrary to accusations of apartheid, even the most hostile of Israel's citizens are free to voice their opinion.

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Pence has received a warm welcome in Israel, which has praised the American decision last month to recognize Jerusalem.

In Jordan on Sunday, Pence tried to reassure King Abdullah during a meeting that was reportedly tense that the USA was committed to restarting dormant peace talks and to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if both sides agreed. I think a lot of what he said has strengthened the bonds and the friendship between Israel and the United States.

Both Israelis and Palestinians consider Jerusalem as their capital. "Some of them about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem".

"The visit was a clear opportunity for Netanyahu to rub the Palestinians" noses in the entire process.

Instead, Pence told the Israeli parliament on Monday that the administration is "committed to enact effective and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs".

In another gesture of support, European Union foreign ministers discussed whether to increase the EU's aid to the Palestinian Authority, after the United States said last week it would withhold about half the initial aid it planned to give the U.N. agency that serves the Palestinians.

In Washington, the Senate ended a three-day standoff between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Republicans over immigration and border security by voting on a deal that would fund the government until February 8.

Palestinians, who on Sunday burned pictures of Pence during protests, called for a general strike on Tuesday to protest the visit. 'Whoever is not ready to talk with the Americans about peace - does not want peace, ' he said Sunday at a meeting of ambassadors in Jerusalem.