So, Mike Pence may not be visiting Israel after all

Pence was originally scheduled to visit Israel during the week of Dec. 17, then Jan. 14, and now it is uncertain

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 2, 2018 10:35AM (EST)
Mike Pence   (Getty/Bill Ingalls)
Mike Pence (Getty/Bill Ingalls)

Vice President Mike Pence's planned trip to Israel appears to have been indefinitely postponed.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Pence's expected trip to Israel is "not on our schedule," according to NBC News. Although Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, assured reporters that the vice president would be visiting that country "later this month," he did not offer any specific dates.

Although Pence had been scheduled to visit Israel during the week of Dec. 17, that trip was postponed so that the vice president could work with Congress on passing President Donald Trump's tax reform bill. As a result, the trip was pushed back to Jan. 14, until Israel released a list of planned events that did not include any mention of a trip from Pence.

One possible reason for the delay in the trip is the continued raw feelings within the Arab world toward the Trump administration. Last month, Trump announced that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that was met with outrage from much of the Muslim world. As a result, the Palestinian Authority made it clear that they would refuse to meet with Pence during his initially planned December trip, when he was also scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and speak to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

Despite the removal of Pence's trip from the official schedule, Israeli officials told media outlets in their country that the trip is still on, according to The Jerusalem Post. The Israeli Foreign Ministry insisted that the absence of Pence's trip from their schedule was simply the result of "various scheduling difficulties."

The cancellation of Pence's trip has occurred as the Israeli government has thrown up new obstacles toward a lasting peace in the region, according to The New York Times. On Tuesday the Knesset imposed new measures making it more difficult for a land-for-peace deal to be imposed in Jerusalem, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be annexed and Israel's most powerful law enforcement officials encouraged Israeli law to be spread into occupied territories.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Israel Mike Pence