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    Official: US VP Pence visit to Israel postponed again

    Israel’s Foreign Ministry says an expected visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has been postponed again.
    Pence was scheduled to visit last month and while the official reason for the delay was the Senate tax vote it also followed region-wide uproar over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    A number of high profile religious and political leaders in the region publically announced that they would not meet with Pence during the trip in protest at Trump’s designation on Jerusalem.
    Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas canceled a planned sit-down with Pence in Ramallah and warned that the United States no longer had a role to play in the peace process.
    Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II also canceled a meeting with Pence, saying Trump’s announcement had failed to take into account the “feelings of millions” of Arabs.
    A leading Egyptian Grand Imam issued a “categorical rejection” of Pence’s request for a meeting.
    Any plans that Pence – who is deeply religious – may have had to make a pilgrimage to Bethlehem also appeared to have been thwarted.
    At the time, the White House said Pence would instead visit Israel during the week of Jan. 14. But on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said Pence is not scheduled to visit this month.
    “The visit is not included in our provision of scheduled visits of high-level dignitaries in January,” said spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
    Nahshon gave no reason for the apparent delay, and said there was no date for an expected visit.
    There was no immediate White House comment.

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