US VP Mike Pence once again delays Middle East visit

Posted December 19, 2017

Earlier, Pence delayed his visit to Israel and Palestine this past Thursday after Palestinian officials cancelled plans to meet him, according to Israeli media reports.

Mr. Trump said that he had chose to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital to keep a campaign promise, noting that several of his predecessors had vowed to do so, but never did.

Pence was scheduled to leave Tuesday night, arriving in Egypt on Wednesday for a bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi.

The tax bill is expected to come to a vote in the House Tuesday.

"This is all about the largest tax cut in American history and having the vice president and the full team here", the official said.

Officials denied that Mr Pence's decision was motivated by a wave of deadly protests in the wake of Trump's deeply controversial decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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But uncertainty over the upcoming tax vote prompted Pence to delay the trip until mid January. An assessment is growing within the Israeli security establishment that Palestinian terrorist organizations will attempt to further escalate this rocket fire during US Vice President Mike Pence's scheduled visit to Israel this week. Egypt called for the resolution, which did not name the United States or Trump but expressed "deep regret at certain decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem", and asserted that "Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations".

Breaking with decades of United States policy, Trump also said on December 6 that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mr Pence's original itinerary when the trip was planned last month was to meet Christian and Muslim leaders in the region. Abbas' diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Abbas would not meet with Pence "because the US has crossed red lines" with its decision on Jerusalem.

The change of plans comes days after Palestinian officials cancelled their meeting with Pence in the West Bank following Trump's decision last week to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Senator John McCain's return home to Arizona to fight cancer has left Republicans with a razor thin margin to push the legislation over the finishing line.