Despite delays, US vice president still plans to visit Israel, Pence’s office says
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s office on Monday said he still plans on visiting Israel this month, despite an apparent delay in the schedule.
Pence had been scheduled to come during the week of Jan. 14. But Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that the visit was no longer on the schedule for January.
Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon gave no reason for the apparent delay but said it was still possible that Pence would decide to come. “It’s not on our schedule,” he said. “We can always adapt it and change it.”
Later Monday, Pence’s deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, said the visit was still on. “As we said, we are going later this month,” he said, without providing specific dates. Agen also said that Pence is still planning to go to Egypt.
Pence had been scheduled to visit Israel last month but called the trip off at the last minute, saying he would come instead in January.
The official reason given for the delay was a Senate tax vote, but the announcement closely followed region-wide uproar over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinians, who envision east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, decided to boycott a planned pre-Christmas meeting with Pence in Bethlehem to protest Trump’s decision.
Leading Muslim and Christian clerics in neighboring Egypt also said they would refuse to meet with Pence during a planned stop in Cairo.
Read more: Israel Hayom