Fatah calls for protests during Pence visit

PA chairman's faction calls for massive demonstration to protest Pence's to Jerusalem.

Ben Ariel,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction on Saturday called for a massive demonstration next week to protest against a visit to Jerusalem by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

The call came in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We call for angry protests at the entrances to Jerusalem and in its Old City to coincide with the visit on Wednesday of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and to protest against Trump's decision," Fatah said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"We will not accept any changes to the 1967 border of east Jerusalem," Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Abbas, said Saturday.

"This American position proves once again that the current U.S. administration is completely out of the peace process," he added.

Saturday’s statements also came a day after a senior official in Washington said the U.S. expects the Western Wall in Jerusalem to be part of Israel.

“We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be a part of Israel. But as the President said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” the official told Israeli public broadcaster Kann.

The official also noted that Pence’s visit to the Western Wall as part of his upcoming trip to Israel will be an official visit and not a private one.

The PA has already announced it would boycott Pence’s visit due to anger over Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem.

The Trump administration chastised the PA last week over its refusal to meet Pence.

“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.”

Meanwhile on Saturday, Egypt circulated a draft resolution that would affirm that any change to the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Diplomats said the council could vote on the proposal as early as Monday, with the United States expected to use its veto power to block it but with most, if not all, of the 14 other council members backing the measure.

Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon slammed the resolution, saying, "In these days, when the Jewish nation is celebrating when Jerusalem was liberated thousands of years ago, the Palestinians continue to try and reinvent history.”

"No vote or discussion will change the clear facts: Jerusalem is and has always been the capital of Israel. This time, too, we will continue to defend our historical truth, together with our allies," he added.