TEL AVIV — The Palestinian Fatah party on Saturday called for “angry” protests when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits Israel this week, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“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.
Trump’s announcement on December 6 recognizing the city as Israel’s capital included a pledge to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Fulfilling a campaign promise, the recognition broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy that carefully avoided stating where Israel’s capital is located.
A White House official on Friday said that the U.S. could not “envision any situation” under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.
Despite Trump’s caveats in his speech from December 6, stressing that the city’s final borders should be agreed upon between the sides and that access to holy sites must not be impeded, the Palestinians and the Arab world responded violently to the announcement, with protests across the Arab and Muslim world and in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians further announced that they would boycott a visit to Israel by Vice President Mike Pence. In a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the U.S. could no longer play a mediating role in negotiations, claiming it was not an even-handed arbitrator.
An itinerary of Pence’s visit published on Sunday by the Hebrew paper Haaretz showed that Pence would have no meetings with Palestinian officials or with church leaders in both the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where he is also scheduled to visit.