White House Official Explains Reason Behind Delay of Pence's Mid East Visit

In Middle East Pence must address realities of Iranian encroachment

US Vice President Mike Pence has delayed a visit to the Middle East for a second time, the White House said Monday, to focus on the tax vote on Capitol Hill.

In October, Vice President Mike Pence, a forthright Evangelical Christian, expressed his intention to show solidarity with the Middle East's persecuted Christians before Christmas.

"The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans.the Vice President is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line". Pence is postponing his trip to Egypt and Israel until the middle of January, citing an upcoming vote in the Senate to overhaul the nation's tax system.

However, after a Palestinian decision not to meet with US officials following the US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6, the visit to Bethlehem was cancelled before the entire visit was postponed. The Republicans' already thin margin in the Senate became even more precarious when McCain, who is battling brain cancer, was hospitalized for side effects of his treatment. 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.

Abbas' diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Abbas would not meet with Pence "because the USA has crossed red lines" with its decision on Jerusalem.




Pence was expected to travel to Egypt on Wednesday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi before travelling to Israel.

Palestinians have also planned to hold mass protests in the West Bank against the USA during Pence's visit. This was the Trump administration's first Security Council veto, and all 14 other members supported the resolution, underscoring the USA isolation on the issue.

The leader of Egypt's Coptic Church had already cancelled his meeting with Pence to protest the U.S. move.

"It has come to our attention that vice president Pence intends to make an official visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and asked me to receive him officially", Adeeb Jowdeh Al Husseini wrote in a letter, according to Israel's Channel 2.

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