Pence’s Israel trip canceled indefinitely due to ‘scheduling difficulties’

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“Scheduling difficulties” were cited as the reason that Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to Israel has been indefinitely postponed.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry published its list of foreign dignitaries expected to visit in January, and the list did not include Pence, The Times of Israel reported Monday.

The Times reports:

“Asked to clarify, Israeli officials said that ‘due to various scheduling difficulties,’ no new date has yet been set for the vice president’s visit. Pence was originally scheduled to arrive in the region in late December, but postponed the trip due to the US administration’s efforts to push a tax reform through Congress.

“When the trip was rescheduled, administration officials had said Pence would visit January 14, coinciding with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s departure from Israel on a previously scheduled five-day trip to India.”

Pence had originally planned his trip to Israel on December 20, following a trip to Egypt. The visit was set to occur just weeks after President Donald J. Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and announced that the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

After Trump made the announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled a meeting with Pence scheduled during his trip to the region, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said Pelestine would no longer rely on the U.S. to help broker peace between Palestine and Israel.

“We will seek a new mediator from our Arab brothers and the international community, a mediator who can help with reaching a two-state solution,” Maliki told reporters in Cairo.

Egypt’s Coptic Church head, Pope Tawadros II, also canceled meetings with Pence. Trump’s decision “did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people,” the church said in a statement.

“The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church declines to receive American Vice President Mike Pence,” it said, adding it would pray for “wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East.”

According to the Times, these cancellations have fueled speculation that Pence has postponed his trip because the Palestinian officials and leading clerics no longer wanted to receive him .

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