February 18, 2018

White House: No contact with Palestinians since Jerusalem declaration

25 January 2018, 02:07 | Kara Nash

Nurit Koren Hezki Baruch

Nurit Koren

Vice President Mike Pence's address to the Knesset Monday was an expression of love for the Jewish people, of commitment to the security of Israel and of determination to advance a peace process that is based on truth and reality, not falsehood and fantasy. "Jerusalem is Israel's capital - and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem".

Rex Tillerson, U.S. State Secretary, predicted in December the establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem would take at least three years and senior White House leaders noted the current embassy can not be transferred to an existing facility in the city.

A senior White House official said top negotiators for the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, and Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for worldwide negotiations, had not spoken to Palestinian leaders since just before Trump's December 6 announcement. They say the US can not be a mediator after the decision and have pre-emptively rejected any peace plan presented by the Trump administration.

Later on Tuesday, Pence greeted Israel's President Reuven Rivlin and declared that the USA would stay focused and will counter Iran's nuclear threat against Israel and other nations.

"For those who can't listen to anything coming out of this administration without re-interpreting it through the lens of the resistance, Pence's moving comments about the ties between America and Israel may seem like a creepy conservative plot against liberal values". "The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster, and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement".

"We'll be here when they're ready", the official said.

Before ending his visit to Israel, Vice President Mike Pence said that reigniting the peace process depends on the Palestinians.

The site lies in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state, and many Israelis were likely to interpret it as Pence further backing their claim over the entire city.

International Monetary Fund cuts South Africa's growth forecast for next two years
Current upswing in the global economy "furnishes an ideal moment to act on a range of multilateral challenges", Obstfeld said. The increase in fuel prices raised headline inflation in advanced economies, but wage and core-price inflation remain weak.

Trump's announcement came eight months after Russian Federation announced Jerusalem was Israel's capital in April 2017.

The U.S. decision upended decades of American policy, and the stance of the global community, that the fate of Jerusalem be settled through negotiations.

But Mogherini said she still wanted to work with the United States on Middle East peace talks and had discussed ways to restart them late past year with Pence and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Another speaker, Dr. Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian academic, writer and activist, argued that with the latest decision, the USA administration "has made very clear that Israeli and US interests are identical".

But Tovah Lazaroff, deputy managing editor for the Jerusalem Post, said that male journalists received similar "preferential treatment" when U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley visited the Western Wall in June. Pence plans to stop over and visit Jordan and Egypt.

The contrast could not have been starker to Parliament's Israeli-Arab members, who held up signs saying, "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine". He hailed President Donald Trump as a "leader who has done more to bring our two great countries closer than any president in the past 70 years".

The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament warned that it would boycott Pence. As top diplomat in the Obama administration, Kerry formerly led a major American peace push, which, in 2009, included pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to implement an unprecedented ten-month construction freeze in Jewish communities located in the West Bank.

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