Netanyahu warmly welcomed Pence, who said it was an honor to be in “Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
“I’ve had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of world leaders and welcoming them, all of them to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a welcoming ceremony for US Vice President Mike Pence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Monday.
However, he added, “this is the first time that I’m standing when both leaders can say those three words, ‘Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.’”
The two leaders met privately before holding an expanded meeting with their entourages, including White House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer.
In remarks prior to their meeting, Pence said it was an honor to be in “Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”
The Israeli prime minister thanked President Donald Trump for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, “which I know you supported and championed,” Netanyahu told Pence.
Netanyahu added that he looks forward to discussing with his guest “how to further strengthen our remarkable alliance—it’s never been stronger—and how to advance peace and security in our region, which is our common aim.”
‘Dawn of a new era’ of renewed peace negotiations
Pence said he was grateful to be representing Trump and that his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would “create an opportunity to move on in good faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on issues that can be discussed, and [which] President Trump truly believes can be resolved.”
The vice president also expressed hope that “we are at the dawn of a new era of renewed discussions to achieve a peaceful resolution to a decades-long conflict that has affected this region.”
“I thank you for your leadership. I thank you for your hospitality. And it’s my great honor to call you a friend,” Pence concluded.
The Palestinians are boycotting Pence’s visit over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, any have stated repeatedly that the US has lost its legitimacy as a broker in the diplomatic process.
A group of Palestinians in the city of Bethlehem protested Pence’s arrival by burning posters with his image.