VP Pence Tells Israeli Parliament: Jerusalem US Embassy to Open Before 2020

PM Netanyahu & VPOTUS Pence at the PM’s Residence. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

In a stirring speech to the Israeli parliament that touched repeatedly on Biblical themes, United States Vice President Mike Pence listed the patriarch Abraham and King David as evidence of the deep connection between Israel and Jerusalem. Given that level of support, it’s not surprising that he offered one of the clearest timelines yet on when the United States will move its Israeli embassy to the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President [Donald] Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Pence to applause according to a copy of his speech on the White House website. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later thanked Pence and President Trump again for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and Israel President Reuven Rivlin strongly called upon other nations to drop their “hypocrisy” and recognize Israel’s capital city as well.

“[Trump’s decision] tore the mask of hypocrisy that characterized and still characterizes the attitude of the international community to the capital of Israel. An hypocrisy expressed in a boycott of the location of embassies, a de facto boycott of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and in the delusional decisions taken at UNESCO and other international fora,”said Rivlin to Israeli diplomats in comments released by his office.

“Now we must move from being on the defensive to taking the initiative, and clearly call on the nations of the world to stop boycotting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Seventy years have passed, this boycott has no justification, and our allies must join the United States.”

Pence believes the Jerusalem decision ultimately furthers peace in the Middle East, and expressed that on Monday to the Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset. “By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction,” said the American VP. “And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.”

Pence also reiterated Trump’s position that the US is “not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”

Pence made it clear that peace between Israel and the Palestinians “will require compromise,” but he also made it clear one area where compromise is not an option. Said Pence, “You can be confident in this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the State of Israel. Any peace agreement must guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself.”

Pence also expressed appreciation for the Israeli “declared willingness to resume direct peace negotiations” with the Palestinians, and then turned to the other side and said that “today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue.”

During a dinner with Pence, Netanyahu expressed his willingness to seek peace once again. “As countries in the region increasingly realize that Israel is not their enemy but a great ally of their wishes for a better future, the chances grow for a broader reconciliation,” said the Israeli leader on Monday in comments released by his office.

“Israel will continue to work with President Trump’s able representatives… to advance peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The sooner the Palestinians accept the truth about the millennial connection of the Jewish people to this land and to this city, the sooner we can work together to reach an historic agreement that will create a better future for both our peoples.”

Netanyahu also commended Pence for his “magnificent speech” to the Knesset. “You saw people standing up again and again, applauding you, applauding the principles that guide your policy, applauding the genuine friendship that emanates from your heart,” said Netanyahu. “It was a powerful expression of the enduring bond between our two countries and of your personal commitment to Israel, the commitment of President Trump and your entire delegation.”

Pence, who quoted from the Hebrew scriptures a half dozen times during the speech, doesn’t just see the Bible as history—but forward-looking as well.

Said the American Vice President in his speech, “We will ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ that ‘those who love you be secure,’ that ‘there be peace within your walls, and security in your citadels.’ And we will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit ‘under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.’”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 22, 2018)

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