(22 Jan 2018) 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 U.S. 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 recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“We’re exploring a range of options but the presidents directive is very clear. He wants the American embassy to be opened in Jerusalem before the end of next year,” Pence said.
The speech drew an angry denunciation from the Palestinians, with chief negotiator Saeb Erekat saying it “has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.”
Yet Pence, in an interview with The Associated Press after the speech, said he remained hopeful that the Palestinians would re-enter negotiations. “Our message to President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is the door’s open. The door’s open. President Trump is absolutely committed to doing everything the United States can to achieve a peace agreement that brings an end to decades of conflict.”
Pence also says reports that an adult film star had an alleged affair with President Donald Trump are “baseless allegations.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s personal lawyer brokered a payment to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to prohibit her from publicly discussing the alleged affair before the presidential election.
Daniels’ real name is Stephanie Clifford. Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, has denied there was any relationship. He gave the Journal a statement from “Stormy Daniels” denying receiving “hush money.”
The AP reported that a tabloid magazine held back from publishing her 2011 account of the alleged affair after Cohen threatened to sue.
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