TEL AVIV – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during the latter’s visit to the region later this month in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Violence has erupted in the region and the Muslim world since Trump’s announcement, although significantly, Jerusalem itself has maintained relative calm.
On Thursday, senior official from the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party Jibril Rajoub said Pence was “unwanted in Palestine.”
Terror group Hamas said Trump’s move was a “declaration of war” and called for an Intifada. On Friday, a barrage of rockets was launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
One of the rockets was later found in a kindergarten yard in the southern town of Sderot, having caused damage to the building but causing no injuries since the complex was already closed for the weekend.
Israeli air strikes killed two Hamas terrorists in the coastal enclave on Saturday.
5,000 Palestinian protesters took to the streets in riots at dozens of locations across the West Bank and Gaza on Friday after prayers. On Saturday, that number dwindled to the hundreds. Abbas’ spokesman vowed that the “rage” would continue and the Palestinians “would never back down.”
Last week, Abbas warned that Trump’s announcement “will lead to wars without end.”
“By these deplorable decisions, the United States deliberately undermines all peace efforts,” he said, adding that the move “is tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator.”