By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have decried a visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to Jerusalem amid tension over the U.S. recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
“Pence’s visit is an assault on our people,” Ismail Radwan, a leader of Hamas group, told a rally held by Palestinian factions in Gaza City on Tuesday.
“The U.S. administration has placed itself in a hostile position against the Palestinian people,” he said.
Pence started a two-day visit to Israel on Monday, one month after President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Addressing the Israeli Knesset (parliament), Pence said the U.S. was advancing its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem “before the end of next year”.
On Tuesday, the top U.S. official is set to visit Al-Buraq Wall, west of Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Israel calls the Wailing Wall.
“Pence’s visit to the Al-Buraq Wall is a provocation of the feelings of Muslims,” Radwan said, going on to call on Palestinian officials to snub the U.S. Vice-President during the visit.
“Any meeting between a Palestinian official and Pence will be a betrayal of the Palestinian cause,” he said.
Palestinian officials have refused to meet Pence during the visit in protest of Trump’s Jerusalem decision, which has triggered worldwide outcry and protests in the Palestinian territories that left at least 17 Palestinians dead.