Fri | May 25, 2018

Pence to Israel: US embassy will move to Jerusalem in 2019

Published:Tuesday | January 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Palestinians protesters holds posters of the U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as they protest Pence's visit to Israel, in the West Bank city of Nablus, yesterday. (AP)
Palestinians hold posters of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as they protest his visit to Israel, in the West Bank city of Nablus, yesterday. (AP)
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JERUSALEM, AP:

Vice President Mike Pence told Israel's parliament on Monday that the U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, receiving a rousing ovation as he pledged to barrel ahead with a plan that has set off weeks of unrest and thrown US peace efforts into disarray. The plan to accelerate the move of the embassy, announced in the first-ever address of a sitting American vice-president to the Knesset, marked the highlight of Pence's three-day visit to Israel celebrating President Donald Trump's decision last month to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The United States has chosen fact over fiction and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace," Pence said.

"Jerusalem is Israel's capital and as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," he said, adding that the embassy "will open before the end of next year.."

The speech drew an angry denunciation from the Palestinians, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat saying it "has proven that the US administration is part of the problem rather than the solution."

A group of Arab lawmakers voiced their displeasure at the administration's perceived pro-Israel bias by raising banners reading

'Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine' and heckling Pence at the beginning of his address. They were then forcibly removed from the plenum.