For the second time within the last week, Vice President Mike Pence has delayed his upcoming trip to Israel due to the impending vote on the Republicans’ tax reform plan.
On Monday, Pence’s office confirmed that his multi-day trip to Israel, which will include a brief visit to Egypt, will be postponed until January 2018.
Pence’s office released a statement which noted that the vice president will not make the trip to the Middle East until he sees the tax reform plan “through to the finish line.”
“The largest tax cut in American history is a landmark accomplishment for President Trump and a relief to millions of hardworking Americans,” read the statement. “The Vice President is committed to seeing the tax cut through to the finish line. The Vice President looks forward to traveling to Egypt and Israel in January.”
Pence’s trip to the Middle East will be his first to the region since President Donald Trump officially announced earlier this month that his administration will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Original plans for Pence’s trip included a meeting between him and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. However, a Palestinian Authority official said last week that “they are no longer coordinating with them (the U.S.) on this visit.”
“There will be no meeting with the vice president of America in Palestine,” said Abbas’ diplomatic adviser, Majdi al-Khaldi. “The United States has crossed all the red lines with the Jerusalem decision.”
According to a Wednesday statement by a senior White House official, Abbas’ remarks regarding the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the kind of rhetoric “that has prevented peace for decades.”
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