Pence not welcome, says Palestinian official

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JERUSALEM — A senior Palestinian official said US Vice-President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” during his upcoming regional visit after a White House decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The American vice-president is not welcome in Palestine,” said Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud
Abbas’s Fatah.

He also signalled that Abbas would not meet with Pence during his planned visit later this month.

“President Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made”
about Jerusalem.

Abbas has not made similar comments and his office could not immediately
be reached.

The White House warned on Thursday that cancelling a planned meeting between Abbas and Pence in the wake of the US policy shift on Jerusalem would be “counterproductive”.

US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday in a move that outraged Palestinian leaders, but which was hailed as historic by Israel.

The move was fully supported
by Pence.

Abbas said Trump has disqualified the United States from its traditional role as peace broker in the Middle
East conflict.

Pence is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories sometime
before Christmas.

Abbas recently met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, after which they issued a joint statement noting that “any measure tampering with the legal and historical status of Jerusalem is invalid” and warning of the “dangerous” repercussions of the embassy move.

French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for calm on Friday after US President Donald Trump’s widely-criticised recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday to discuss Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for calm and said Trump’s decision should not “add to the instability of the region”.

“I’m issuing a call for calm and responsibility by everyone which is essential for the efforts we are undertaking here,”
he said.

Ahead of a trip to France tomorrow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said “France can act, but it cannot
act alone”.

“We must pursue the necessary mediation to allow calm to return, so that we can commit to a negotiation process,” he said. — AFP