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Trump aloof from realities of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, foreign ministry says

Trump aloof from realities of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, foreign ministry says

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence assured the Israeli parliament today that "In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem - and that the United States Embassy will open before the end of next year".

Before the visit, Pence met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and called U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem a "tangible sign" of U.S. commitment to the Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to him as a "true friend" while Israeli columnists noted their appreciation for Pence's unconditional support of Israel, even while registering their discomfort with his boss President Trump and even for policies that Pence himself promotes.

Following that meeting, in remarks to reporters, Pence called it "my great honor, on behalf of the president of the United States, to be in Israel's capital, Jerusalem, following on the president's historic decision".

Lord Sack's spokesperson, Dan Sacker, has confirmed that the former chief rabbi and Pence met in NY for 90 minutes to discuss the speech. If Israelis can not understand why this unwavering friend of Israel is disliked by many American Jews, they will never understand what makes American Jews tick.

He added: "The people of the United States have always held a special affection and admiration for the people of the Book". He considered it a great tribute to the Jewish people that someone like Vice-President Pence would turn to a Jewish source for guidance on such matters'. White House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, joined the ceremony, and Pence chatted briefly with Israeli soldiers before beginning his meeting with Netanyahu.

The former chief rabbi was not paid for his help with Spence's speech, Sacker said. The vice president thought it was critical to have his counsel for a speech of this magnitude'.

Strong quake sparks panic in Indonesia
The quake struck around 65 miles west of the city of Sukabumi on the island of Java, at a depth of 21 miles. "It's quite strong. Buildings in the capital swayed for 10 to 20 seconds and some ordered evacuations, sending streams of people into the streets.

He also attacked Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for plotting to upend budding Palestinian-American relations.

On Monday, Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint Arab List, a grouping of four Arab-dominated parties that hold 13 of the Knesset's 120 seats, said: '[Pence] is a unsafe man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region'. But as I said, it is controversial because Palestinians also have a claim on the city. The U.S. "strongly urge (s) the Palestinian leadership to return to the table", he said.

As if Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month was not bad enough, he now upped the ante by asserting that Jerusalem in its entirety is a done deal in favour of Israel.

And while Pence was in the region making promises of more rigorous USA support to Israel, Abbas was in Brussels, the headquarters of the EU, to appeal for strong European backing for a fair settlement of the Palestinian cause, rather than the one offered by Washington.

Husam Zomlot accused Trump of "backstabbing" the Palestinians with his 6 December vow to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, during this week's speech in Washington.

Some evangelical Christians, known as Christian Zionists, believe that the return of Jews to Israel is a prerequisite for the second coming of Christ.

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