Pence: Timing of US peace plan's release depends on Palestinians

Pence: Timing of US peace plan's release depends on Palestinians
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence said Tuesday that the time frame for the release of the Trump administration's long-awaited plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority depends on the Palestinians’ return to the negotiating table.

In an interview with Reuters, the vice president indicated that the Palestinians will now determine whether the peace process evolves to actual negotiations.

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“The White House has been working with our partners in the region to see if we can develop a framework for peace,” Pence told Reuters. “It all just depends now on when the Palestinians are going to come back to the table.”

Tuesday was Pence's last day in the region, where he has been since Sunday amid America's announcement that it will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy to the city.

In the interview, Pence said he understands the move infuriated Palestinians, but he hoped peace talks were still possible.

“We want [the Palestinians] to know the door is open. We understand they’re unhappy with that decision, but the president wanted me to convey our willingness and desire to be a part of the peace process going forward,” Pence said.

The vice president also indicated support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection bid, as the prime minister is one of the Trump administration's most vocal supporters abroad.

“I‘m a strong supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu, but I don’t get a vote here," Pence said about the Israeli leader's reelection bid.

Pence's comments follow a speech to Israel's parliament, during which he said that the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem was the prevalence of "fact over fiction."

“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” Pence said in his speech.