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Palestinian Knesset members to boycott speech by 'messianic' Pence

Pence arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour. [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 January, 2018

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Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour, travelling to Jordan and Israel today.
A coalition of Palestinian political parties in the Israeli parliament said on Saturday that it will boycott a speech by visiting US Vice-President Mike Pence on Monday, calling him "dangerous and messianic".

Pence arrived in Cairo on Saturday to start his first Middle East tour and travelled on Sunday to Jordan. He will arrive in Israel later the same day.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, a key US ally, voiced concern over Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as Pence visited Amman.

"Jerusalem is key to Muslims and Christians as it is to Jews," he said. "It is key to peace in the region. And key to enabling Muslims to effectively fight some of the root causes of radicalisation."

Pence is scheduled to address the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on Monday.

"He is a dangerous man with a messianic vision that includes the destruction of the entire region," MP Ayman Odeh said of Pence.

Odeh heads the United List of Arab parties, the third largest political group in parliament with 13 seats.

"He comes here as the emissary of an even more dangerous man, a political pyromaniac, racist and misogynist who must be prevented from taking control of our region," Odeh said, referring to Trump.

"The entire Arab List will boycott his speech."

The visit by Pence, a devout Christian, comes amid widespread anger in the Arab world over a 6 December decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

His trip had originally been scheduled for December but was postponed because of the furore over the Jerusalem decision, which broke with decades of international diplomacy.

The Palestinian Authority has frozen contacts with the Trump administration and has said Pence would not meet any Palestinian leaders.

Palestinian citizens of Israel are the descendants of those who stayed on after Israel's creation in 1948 forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring countries.

They represent 17.5 percent of Israel's population.

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