January 23, 2018 — New York
AJC hailed Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset, the first-ever delivered by a U.S. vice president to Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem. “The alliance between our two countries has never been stronger, and the friendship between our peoples has never been deeper,” Pence declared.
AJC CEO David Harris, welcomed the message, calling it “a remarkable indication of U.S. solidarity with the Jewish state.”
A central theme of the vice president’s remarks was President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the planned relocation of the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Pence said that the administration’s Jerusalem policy, which he described as a clear choice of “fact over fiction,” set right “a 70-year wrong,” and promised that the embassy move would take place before the end of 2019. His words were greeted by enthusiastic applause from most of the Knesset, especially when he recited, in Hebrew, the traditional Shehechiyanu blessing of thanksgiving.
Even as some Arab Knesset members were ejected from the room for trying to disrupt the proceedings, Vice President Pence assured his audience that the U.S. remained "fully committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” and envisioned a two-state solution should both parties agree to one.
AJC’s David Harris said: “How ironic that just as Vice President Pence, from the Knesset rostrum, announced, ‘We strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table’ since ‘peace can only come through dialogue,’” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels, trying to drum up European Union support for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state that would enable him to avoid direct talks with Israel and continue the futile struggle against it. That should make it abundantly clear who seeks a serious peace deal and who doesn’t.”