Jerusalem, Dec 8: A senior Palestinian official said that US Vice President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” during his upcoming regional visit after a White House decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The American vice president is not welcome in Palestine,” Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, told AFP.
Rajoub also signaled that Abbas would not meet with Pence during his planned visit later this month.
“And President Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made” about Jerusalem.
Abbas has not made similar comments and his office could not immediately be reached.
The White House warned that cancelling a planned meeting between Abbas and Pence in the wake of the US policy shift on Jerusalem would be “counterproductive”.
US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel.
Pence’s trip now risks becoming a lightning rod for Palestinian anger.
In an effort to keep the trip on the rails, the White House is likely to only consider the meeting canceled if they hear that from Abbas himself.
Pence is due to travel to Egypt and Israel in the second half of December, a visit that has taken on extra significance in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas said Trump has disqualified the United States from its traditional role as peace broker in the Middle East conflict.