Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has declined to meet with Vice President Mike Pence as a result of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Pence was hoping to meet with Abbas on December 19 during his trip to the Middle East, but Trump’s Jerusalem move “crossed red lines,” according to Majdi Khaldi, the diplomatic adviser to Abbas.
“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the Administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, told Fox News.
Pence plans on meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to Farah.
Shortly after Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, a high-ranking member of Fatah declared that Pence would not be allowed in their territory.
“In the name of Fatah, I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian territories,” said Jibril Rajoub.
In 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas most of the West Bank, a bridge to the Gaza Strip and to put Jerusalem under international control. Abbas declined the offer and has since doubled down on the notion that he will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. Under Abbas, the PA provides financial incentives for Palestinians to commit acts of terror against Jews.
Abbas’ background also consists of him writing a book that denies the Holocaust and funding the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes.
Jerusalem has long been viewed as the eternal capital of Jewish people.