White House hits PA:
'Unfortunate PA chooses to miss yet another opportunity'

Trump administration chastises PA over its refusal to meet with VP Pence during upcoming trip.

David Rosenberg,

Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence

The Trump administration chastised the Palestinian Authority on Sunday, expressed regret that PA leaders would not meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to Israel this month, following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week and plans to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Ahead of President Trump’s declaration Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority warned that such a move would mark the end of any hopes for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the PA during the Trump administration.

Following Trump’s statement last week, the PA announced that Vice President Mike Pence, slated to visit Israel next week, would not be welcomed by PA officials. Pence had been slated to meet with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Senior Fatah party member Jibril Rajoub said Thursday that the meeting would not take place, saying that Pence “is unwelcome in Palestine”.

“In the name of Fatah I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian Territories. He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place,” Reuters reported Rajoub as saying.

Despite the diplomatic dustup between the US and the PA, the White House initially stated that the Abbas-Pence meeting slated for the 19th of December was still on, expressing optimism that the statements by senior PA officials did not reflect PA policy.

On Saturday, however, the PA reiterated its decision to boycott Pence’s Israel visit, stating that Abbas would not meet with the American Vice President.

A day later, the White House issued its own response, criticizing the PA for nixing the Pence-Abbas meeting.

“It’s unfortunate that the Palestinian Authority is walking away again from an opportunity to discuss the future of the region” said Pence’s deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, “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.”

Vice President Pence is expected to address Israel’s Knesset during his December trip, making him the first senior US official since President George W. Bush to speak at the Israeli parliament.

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