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Palestinian protesters vent their anger at Mike Pence's visit

Palestinian protesters vent their anger at Mike Pence’s visit

The US Vice President is coming to the region amid high tension over the recent moves carried out by the Trump administration, namely the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the decision to withhold $65 million meant for the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

"Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly", Pence said at the Solidarity Dinner. For the first time as well, the Olympic delegation is being led by Vice President Mike Pence, a virulent homophobe, who (as Donald Trump likes to joke) "wants to hang" LGBT people. "We'd like to see our people come home".

Pence was scheduled to travel to Egypt and Israel last month.

Pence went ahead with his four-day trip to the Middle East, citing national security and diplomatic reasons. "I made that clear to him", Pence said before flying to Jordan.

The State Department has begun to plan the sensitive move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, a process that USA diplomats say may take years to complete.

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Pence and el-Sissi held 2½ hours of talks at the presidential palace in Cairo, with acknowledgements of friendship and partnership between the two countries.

"We resolve to continue to stand with Egypt in the battle against terrorism", Pence said.

But that decision has thrown what had been a nascent effort at beginning discussions of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians into serious question.

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the global community.

Senior White House officials say Pence will focus on moving forward from that decision and will seek ideas from Sissi and Abdullah about the best next steps for peace. In the hall outside, there were tense negotiations over which reporters would eventually be allowed into the meeting for the brief statements.

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Next week, the former congressman and governor of IN will hold meetings with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and deliver an address to the country's parliament, the Knesset.

The Vice President also serves as President of the U.S. Senate and has the ability to cast a vote.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, as the capital of its future state.

Pence had initially planned to visit the region in December, shortly after Trump's announcement, but the trip was postponed after Abbas' refusal to meet the vice president in Bethlehem.

His trip had originally been scheduled for December but was postponed because of the furore over the Jerusalem decision, which broke with decades of global diplomacy.

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