Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat defied US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the Knesset on Monday, reiterating that the Palestinian position on the current administration has become a part of the problem and not a solution.
This notion was expressed by multiple Palestinian leaders following the US President Donald Trump announcement in which he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “The messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists and has proven that the US administration is part of the problem rather than the solution,” Erekat was quoted on the Twitter account of the Palestinian Negotiation Affairs Department.“His message to the rest of the world is clear: Violate international law and resolutions and the US will reward you,” he added.Meanwhile, the streets of east Jerusalem remained quiet during the first day of the vice president’s visit to the city. On Monday, a protest was planned for 4 p.m. at the Damascus Gate plaza outside Jerusalem’s Old City but only a few elderly women attended the protest and were escorted out of the plaza, which was laden with policemen.One woman shouted, while being pushed by a policeman, “We, the people of Jerusalem, will determine our future – not you, Mr. Mike Pence.”A general strike in east Jerusalem is planned for Tuesday. Multiple shop owners in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter and the surrounding streets told The Jerusalem Post that they are joining the general strike in the West Bank, in protest against Pence’s visit.Over the past several weeks, many Palestinian officials have said they would not welcome Pence to the West Bank because of Trump’s Jerusalem decisions.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Israeli Kenesset (YouTube/US Embassy in Israel)