Pence arrives in Israel as Trump's Jerusalem move reverberates

Pence arrives in Israel

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) shakes hands with with US Vice President Mike Pence during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt on January 20, 2018.

"United States Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Egypt" Egypt for the first leg of his delayed Middle East tour overshadowed by Arab anger over Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Later, after meeting US troops near the Syrian border, Pence said he and Abdullah had "a very frank discussion".

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the US -born founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that raises tens of millions of dollars for Israeli causes from American evangelicals, said Pence's upcoming visit should go over well with evangelicals and help shore up their support for the Trump administration.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not meet with Trump administration officials and called off a meeting with Pence that had been scheduled for mid-December.

Pence said he assured el-Sissi the USA was committed to "preserving the status quo with regard to holy sites in Jerusalem", and boundaries and other issues would be negotiated between the parties.

Pence even said that they aren't planning to continue negotiations on immigration "until they re-open the government".

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The Egyptian presidency said in a statement that Sisi noted that only negotiations based on a two-state solution could bring an end to the conflict, "and Egypt would spare no effort to support this".

Egypt has faced security problems, including attacks by Islamic State militants in the North Sinai region. Trump has made the fight against Islamic State a top priority.

Though Pence intends to discuss counterterrorism issues throughout the trip, the Jerusalem decision remains a hot topic.

Al-Ayyam reported on Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), saying that the US President Donald Trump's peace deal includes a Palestinian state with some parts of the lands.

Ahead of Pence's impending arrival, Joint Arab List party head Ayman Odeh announced in a tweet that he and the lawmakers from the parties on the List would not attend Pence's speech to the Knesset on Monday, in protest over the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Doug Rose, a philanthropist in Indianapolis, flew with Pence on his 2004 trip to Israel and recalled him being deeply affected by the experience.

He plans to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, address the Israeli legislature and visit the Western Wall. Last week the Vice President received a special certificate marking the planting of tree in the Jerusalem hills honoring the people of Guatemala and their support from the creation of the State of Israel until today. They were incensed by Trump's decision on Jerusalem, which upended the longstanding USA position that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must determine the city's status.

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