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Senior Palestinian Official: Vice President Pence Not Welcome In Palestine

Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub said Thursday that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is not welcome in Palestine.

“In the name of Fatah I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian Territories. He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place,” Jibril Rajoub said, according to Reuters.

Rajoub is part of Fatah, the ruling political party in Palestine.

Pence was planning a visit to Israel in late December for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regarding the Middle East peace process, The Associated Press reported in October. If Rajoub is correct, it seems that the planned meeting with Abbas will not take place.

A White House official, however, told Politico that Pence still very much intends to meet with Abbas during his December trip. This official stated that any attempts to pull out of meetings would be deemed “counterproductive.”

Outrage directed at the U.S. has emerged after President Donald Trump announced recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and also stated he would begin the process of relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Trump said Wednesday. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.”

“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump added. “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”

Protests have kicked off throughout Israel, specifically in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. So far, 49 have been injured after Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets and deployed tear gas in response to protesters who threw rocks at officers and started fires.

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