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Pence delays Mideast visit amid anger over Jerusalem shift

Pence delays Mideast visit amid anger over Jerusalem shift”

Pence was originally scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the trip, but a Palestinian Authority official said last week that "they are no longer coordinating with them [the U.S.] on this visit", noting that they were unaware of the delay.

The chief rabbi of the the Western Wall rejected a request by Vice President Mike Pence to hold a press conference at the holy site during his upcoming trip, The Times of Israel reports.

"The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans", his office said in a statement.

Officials denied that Mr Pence's decision was motivated by a wave of deadly protests in the wake of Trump's deeply controversial decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Senator John McCain's return home to Arizona to fight cancer has left Republicans with a razor-thin margin to push the legislation over the finishing line. Now that the vote could come either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, the official said they had chose to move the trip to the week of January 14 to have more time in the region and to possibly meet with more leaders. His office announced the delay on Monday. The vice president's office had originally planned to leave on Saturday night for Israel but pushed back his departure because of the pending tax bill.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction had called for a massive demonstration to coincide with Pence's visit and ruled out meeting him in Ramallah or Bethlehem.

Pence was expected to travel to Egypt on Wednesday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi before travelling to Israel. The draft resolution also reiterated the council's view that no country should establish an embassy in Jerusalem and that Jerusalem's status was an issue to be resolved by Israel and the Palestinians, who want eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The announcement from Pence's office came on the same day the United States vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution that would have rejected "decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem". In doing so, senior officials said the protests were not a factor and that the vice president needed to stay in Washington until the tax vote was completed.



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