Ahead of United States Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Israel this week, the Trump Administration clarified it “cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.”
A senior official from the White House made the remarks on Friday during a press briefing ahead of Pence’s visit. He stated “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel,” reiterating that “as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final-status agreement.”
Pence will travel to Egypt to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi before traveling to Israel. He is scheduled to visit the Kotel (Western Wall) before meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday.
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, who recently announced that the United States would no longer play a role in the peace process, also reported that he refused to meet with Pence, the Palestinian Authority reporting that Pence was “not welcome” in the “Palestinian territories”.
Abbas was scheduled to meet with Pence in Bethlehem on Wednesday, a spokesman for the PA reporting, “In the name of Fatah, I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian territories. He asked to meet Abbas… such a meeting will not take place.”
During the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul last week, during which officials and heads of state of Muslim majority countries collectively denounced President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called on the global community to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine”.
Abbas claimed last week during the OIC summit, “Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine. We do not accept any role of the United States in the political process from now on, because it is completely biased towards Israel,” calling on the international community to “recognize the state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”.
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, December 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.