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Pence Delays Upcoming Trip to Israel, Egypt Until 2018

21 December 2017

Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his trip to Egypt and Israel until a Congressional vote on the Republican tax plan.

With pence Middle East trip delayed until January, Mike Pence could become the official envoy of President Trump bringing the sweeteners for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Rabinowitz said privately, however, that he feared violence if Pence were allowed to speak, since it could be seen as a political statement just two weeks after President Donald Trump announced the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a local television station reported.

Then Trump announced on December 6 that his administration had chose to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of US policy and drawing sharp criticism from allies and adversaries.

The White House warned that cancelling the meeting in the West Bank would be "counterproductive", but Abbas has been under heavy domestic pressure to shun Pence following Trump's announcement.

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But just a few hours ahead of departure, the White House announced that the Vice President would no longer be travelling to the Middle East at this time.

A senior Trump administration official, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, said Pence had already pushed back the trip by a couple of days because of the anticipated vote on the tax bill.

The leader of Egypt's Coptic Church had already cancelled his meeting with Pence to protest the U.S. move.

Following the cancellation of the visit to the center of Egypt's Christian faith, the vice president's press secretary, Alyssa Farah, has dropped any mention of faith outreach, referring only to meetings with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The draft resolution also reiterated the council's view that no country should establish an embassy in Jerusalem and that Jerusalem's status was an issue to be resolved by Israel and the Palestinians, who want eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

"It has come to our attention that vice president Pence intends to make an official visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and asked me to receive him officially", Adeeb Jowdeh Al Husseini wrote in a letter, according to Israel's Channel 2.

Pence Delays Upcoming Trip to Israel, Egypt Until 2018