Mike Pence is scheduled to visit the Middle East in the latter part of this month. The one party he won’t be meeting with is the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with US Vice President Mike Pence later this month, a senior adviser to the PA leader confirmed on Saturday, less than three days after President Donald Trump announced major changes to American policy on Jerusalem.
As a part of a Middle East tour, Pence was slated to meet with Abbas in Bethlehem in the latter half of December.
“There will not be a meeting with Pence. The matter is bigger than a mere meeting because the United States, in its decisions on Jerusalem, crossed redlines,” Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser, told official PA radio.
A White House aide said Pence “still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled” and “believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting,” Agence France-Presse reported.
The Palestinians have been demanding, since two or three wars ago, that Jerusalem be considered both indivisible and part of a notional polity called “Palestine.” So the Palestinians are feeling a bit butthurt over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel and to set in motion the process of moving the US embassy there.
The late prime minister of Israel, Abba Eban, had a famous quote that explains a lot of what happens in Israel. The Palestinians, he said, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” That is what is happening here. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital took off the table one of the key Palestinian demands. It simply is not going to happen unless Israel agrees to move its capital. If the Palestinians had more sense than a brood of turkey chicks in a rainstorm, they would remember that Trump changed US policy on recognizing settlement expansion, they would note that while the Palestinian Authority floats on a sea of American taxpayer money the Taylor Force Act is moving through Congress with the support of the Administration. These things, together, should convince them that now is not the time to act the way the Palestinian Authority has acted for a while, like spoiled, brattish toddlers. At a minimum they would read the statement sent out by the White House:
“The Vice President very much looks forward to traveling to the region to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President el-Sisi. It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region, but the Administration remains undeterred in its efforts to help achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians and our peace team remains hard at work putting together a plan.”
This pretty clearly says that a plan is going to be put together and the Palestinians can either be a part of the process or they can read about it in the Jerusalem Post.