Pence arrives in Israel on Mideast tour

Vice President Mike Pence waves as he walks on Capitol Hill in Washington

His mission to meet Mogherini and the 28 European Union foreign ministers came as US Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament that Washington would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "by the end" of 2019, a step fiercely opposed by Palestinians.

US Vice President Mike Pence pledged yesterday that his country would move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "by the end" of 2019, a step fiercely opposed by Palestinians.

Pence was meeting Sunday with Jordan's King Abdullah II for discussions that are expected to include the Trump administration's December decision on Israel's capital and plans to shift the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Joint List has supported the Palestinian Authority's position that President Donald Trump's declaration that Yerushalayim is Israel's capital and the US will move its embassy there disqualifies Washington from being the leading Mideast peacemaker.

However, he added, "this is the first time that I'm standing when both leaders can say those three words, 'Israel's capital, Jerusalem'".

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Trump signed off on a sanctions waiver earlier this month, essentially keeping the nuclear deal intact, but he has in the past chosen to not certify it, a decision that could lead to new USA sanctions on the country.

Pence used his speech to call on the Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table, reiterating that the USA will support a two-state solution if both sides agreed to it. He said the US and Israel have a "shared destiny".

The brief exchange was part of an exceptionally warm welcome extended to Pence in Israel, who praised the Trump government's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December.

Pence arrived in Israel after stops in Cairo and Amman, where he asked Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah to try to bring Palestinian leaders back to the peace table, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While Pence announced the deadline to shift the embassy, he failed to mention an exact date for completion of the transfer.

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Pence addressed another key part of Trump's December speech in his Knesset speech, saying the USA would move its embassy to Jerusalem by next year.

An worldwide consensus has long held that the city's final status should be decided through negotiations, which was also USA policy going back decades. "Thanks to the president's leadership, the alliance between our two countries has never been stronger".

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly condemned and rejected Trump's decision, saying, among other things, that it would aid extremist organizations to wage holy wars.

Pence was not expected to meet with Palestinian officials during his trip.

A small group of Palestinians in the West Bank town of Bethlehem protested Mr. Pence's arrival by burning posters with his image.

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"The United States has chosen fact over fiction - and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace", Pence said during an address to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, on Monday.

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