US-Israel Relationship

Pence to travel to Israel, address Knesset

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that he will travel to Israel next month and address its legislative body, the Knesset.

Pence spoke in New York to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote that established Israel as a sovereign state. He delivered his remarks at the Queens Museum, the site of the UN vote, and was introduced by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.

“While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here too,” the vice president said, according to the press pool traveling with him. “America stands with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.”

President Donald Trump promised during last year’s presidential campaign to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Israel, after a difficult relationship between former President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump appears so far to have a stronger personal relationship with the Israeli leader.

One specific promise made by Trump during the campaign was to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step that Israel has called for but that is opposed by Palestinian leaders who also lay claim to the ancient city. Past presidents from both parties have pledged to move the U.S. embassy but backed off once in office, wary of muddying the potential for a peace deal in the region.

Thus far, Trump appears to have fallen in line with his predecessors on the issue, failing on his pledge to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on day one of his administration. Instead, he signed a six-month waiver last June allowing the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv instead of moving to Jerusalem, as mandated by a 1995 law.

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