US vice-president Mike Pence announced in a speech on Monday to the Israeli Knesset that the US embassy will be transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the end of next year.
Pence arrived in Israel on Sunday evening after a visit to Egypt and Jordan. It was the most senior visit of a US politician to Israel after President Donald Trump announced his country’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month.
During his meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pence said, “We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause. Your values are our values, and your fight is our fight.”
He continued, “We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, and good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”
The US embassy has reportedly invited leaders of settler movements in the occupied West Bank to attend Pence’s speech in the Knesset – the first ever by a US vice-president.
Chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat, criticised the speech for its religious nature.
“The messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists and has proven that the US administration is part of the problem rather than the solution,” Erekat said, according to a tweet by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s negotiations affairs department.
“His message to the rest of the world is clear: violate international law and resolutions and the US will reward you,” Erekat added.