US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Israel Sunday evening, in the third stop of his Middle East visit, after having met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Pence’s visit to Israel is planned to last less than 48 hours, starting on Sunday night and ending on Tuesday evening, in which he will address the Knesset, meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also welcomed the vice president in a statement, in which he included a message for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has rebuked Trump’s peace efforts ever since his embassy move. Earlier Sunday, a senior Fatah official told The Jerusalem Post that Abbas plans to turn to the European Union to help establish an alternative to Trump’s peace initiative.

“There is no substitute for American leadership in the peace process.Those who are not willing to discuss peace with the Americans do not want peace,” Netanyahu said. read more

Pence Arrives in Israel on Visit Overshadowed by Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence began a visit to Israel on Sunday after being praised as a “great friend” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shunned by the Palestinians over U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It is the highest-level U.S. visit to the region since President Donald Trump made his declaration on Dec. 6 and promised to begin the process of moving the American embassy to the city, whose status is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With the Palestinians boycotting Pence, the visit provides little obvious opportunity to build bridges toward peace. read more…