May 28, 2024
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VP Pence Renews Embassy Pledge in Israel

In a historic address to the Israeli Knesset on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence pledged that the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “before the end of next year.”

“Just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70-year wrong, he kept his promise to the American people,” Pence said, referring to Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and promise to relocate the U.S. embassy.

Pence’s pledge came after several days of mixed reports on when the embassy move would take place. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the embassy relocation would happen “much faster than people think, within a year from today.” But President Trump disputed Netanyahu’s timeline.

“By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios—I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no,” Trump told Reuters.

When the planned embassy move was announced last month, U.S. officials said that it would likely take several years due to the need to find a proper and secure location within Israel’s capital.

Pence—whose speech was interrupted by Israeli Arab lawmakers protesting the recognition of Jerusalem—said that Trump is “fully committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and reiterated that “if both sides agree, the United States will support a two-state solution.”

“Today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue,” declared Pence.

Pence also spoke about the Iran nuclear deal, calling the agreement a “disaster” that only delays Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon and saying the Trump administration will no longer certify Iranian compliance with the deal. The U.S. issued its first refusal to certify the accord last October, and faces the same decision every 90 days.

“This is the last time: Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed, President Trump, the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately,” said Pence, echoing comments made by Trump earlier this month.

During a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Pence lauded the strong security cooperation between Israel and the U.S., stating that America stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the Jewish state in the war against radical Islamic terrorism and “the threat of the leading state sponsor of terror, Iran.”

Pence concluded his trip to Israel on Tuesday with a private visit to the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. He arrived at the holy site with a black yarmulke on his head flanked by the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation Mordechai “Soli” Eliav.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and the Trump administration’s international negotiations representative, Jason Greenblatt, also accompanied the vice president.

Pence placed a note inside the wall and prayed, while his wife Karen prayed separately in the women’s section at the holy site.

Upon his departure from the Western Wall, Pence signed the official guest book, writing, “It is my great honor to pray here at this sacred place. God bless the Jewish people and God bless the state of Israel always.” When approached by members of the media, Pence stated that the visit to the site was “very inspiring.”

By JNS and combined sources

 

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