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US vice president visits Jerusalem's Western Wall

US vice president visits Jerusalem's Western Wall
Palestinians have refused to meet Pence in protest of Trump's Jerusalem decision

JERUSALEM (AA) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday visited the Western Wall, west of Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Muslims call Al-Buraq Wall and Jews the Wailing Wall.

Pence and his wife Karen spent about ten minutes at the site, where they were welcomed by the Jewish rabbi in charge of the site.

He recited words of Scripture and approached the wall wearing a Jewish Kippah (skullcap).

As tradition prescribes, Pence inserted a note into the cracks of the wall and recited a short prayer.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. vice president met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin where he reiterated the U.S. pledge to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unless it were amended.

He stressed that the U.S. would stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel against Iran, describing Tehran as the "leading state sponsor of terror".

Pence also praised the U.S. plan to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the clearest sign yet of the unwavering commitment of the United States of America towards Israel," he said.

Addressing the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Monday, Pence said the U.S. Embassy would be relocated to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the perennial Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 claiming it as the Jewish state's "undivided and eternal capital" -- a move never recognized by the international community.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.

source: News Feed
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