VP Pence: US will move Israel embassy to Jerusalem by end of 2019

World Today

US Vice President Mike Pence (L) listens as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, on January 22, 2018. Pence pledged to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by the end of 2019 in a speech to Israel’s parliament that saw Arab lawmakers expelled after they shouted in protest. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ariel Schalit

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Washington, D.C. will open its embassy in Jerusalem earlier than planned. He made the surprise announcement in a speech to Israel’s parliament.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid has more.

The moment that visiting Pence took to the podium to address Israel’s parliament provided a brief illustration of the growing antagonism between Palestinians and Israelis.

Arab members of the Knesset protested, holding up posters showing images of Al Aqsa Mosque inscribed with “Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine.” They were quickly ushered from the plenum.

Pence’s reception from other members of parliament was vastly different, however, with a standing ovation even greeting an announcement by the American official.

“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Pence also verbalized the United States’ support for Israel, described the Iran nuclear deal as a disaster that needs urgent fixing, and stating three times that “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”

Blatantly missing from the vice president’s address was any mention of Palestinians, other than urging them to come back to the negotiating table. What was also missing was any incentive for them to do so.