US Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the parliament in Jerusalem on January 22, 2018.
The visit, initially scheduled for December before being postponed, is the final leg of a trip that has included talks in Egypt and Jordan as well as a stop at a US military facility near the Syrian border. Controversy back home over a budget dispute that has led to a US government shutdown has trailed Pence, and he sought to blame Democrats for the impasse during a speech to troops at the military facility a day earlier. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ariel Schalit
US vice president Mike Pence shakes hands with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 22, 2018. Ariel Schalit / Pool / AFP

Pence promises US embassy will move to Jerusalem by end of 2019



US vice president Mike Pence told Israeli MPs on Monday that the American embassy would move to Jerusalem by the end of next year, as he vowed Washington's unwavering support for Israel.

He called on Palestinian leaders boycotting his visit to "return to the negotiating table", insisting that president Donald Trump's recognition last month of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "in the best interest of peace".

Mr Pence's remarks further alienate the Palestinians who have said Mr Trump's announcement disqualifies the US as a mediator in any peace process.

In an address to the Knesset that at times sounded more like a religious incantation than a foreign policy speech, Mr Pence depicted the creation of the Israeli state — which Palestinians associate with mass displacement — as a miracle.

"Today as I stand in Abraham's promised land, I believe all who cherish freedom and seek a brighter future should cast their eyes here and marvel," said the evangelical Christian.

"How unlikely was Israel's birth, how more unlikely its survival, how confounding against the odds has been her thriving."

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said his speech "adopted the extreme right wing ideological narrative of the Israeli side and reflected his evangelical messianic view of reality which has little to do with contemporary realities".

"Rather than contribute to peace, it adds another obstacle by showing the political ethos of this administration does not want to see the requirements of peace, to see international law or adhere to the requirements of justice. It just wants to superimpose its own absolutist ideology on our realities. This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible," Ms Ashrawi said.

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Opinion: The Trump administration has made a grim situation worse for Palestinians

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Mr Pence's speech — which was repeatedly interrupted with hearty applause — was music to the ears of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government, which asserts biblical claims to justify its annexation efforts in the occupied West Bank. But Palestinian MPs from the Joint List alliance protested as Mr Pence took to the podium, holding up signs showing pictures of the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the writing "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine". They were hauled out of the chamber by ushers.

The Joint List later issued a statement describing the speech as "a eulogy at a ceremony of the burial of peace and encouragement for annexation, settlement and the continuation of occupation."

The Palestinian leadership says that Mr Trump's declaration last month, which upended seven decades of US policy, amounted to siding with Israel and set back hopes for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Speaking late on Sunday, one of the Arab legislators who participated in the protest at the start of Mr Pence's speech, Yusuf Jabareen, told The National: "The Trump-Pence declaration goes against international law and consensus about Jerusalem, so our stand comes to send a message to the American administration, Israel and the international community that we stick to the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine and reject the Trump declaration."

"We're extremely worried about the coalition between the administration in the White House and the Netanyahu government. Their dangerous co-operation leads the area to ongoing conflict at the expense of peace in the area."

Mr Pence defended the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Monday, saying: "By finally recognising Jerusalem, the US has chosen fact over fiction and fact is the only basis for a just and lasting peace."

He said Mr Trump's declaration had left it to the parties to negotiate Jerusalem's final borders, a statement that does not square with a recent Trump tweet that his declaration had taken the Jerusalem issue "off the table".

The vice president also reiterated that Israel would have a de facto veto over the emergence of a Palestinian state if it so desires: "President Trump has confirmed that if both sides agree, the United States will support a two-state solution."

"We know Israel wants peace and needs no lectures on the price of war. The US appreciates the Israeli government's declared willingness to return to negotiations," he said, adding that the Palestinians should accept to negotiate on the basis of a forthcoming US peace plan because "peace can only come through dialogue".

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said that the Trump administration's stance on Jerusalem disqualifies the US as a mediator. In response, the US has cut its contribution to the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

In remarks preceding Mr Pence's, Mr Netanyahu said: "There is no replacement for the US as the actor leading the search for peace. America has no greater friend than Israel and Israel has no greater friend than the USA. This is a chance for us to tell you one word: thanks. When America and Israel stand together the forces of freedom prevail."

A team led by Mr Trump' son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, is currently finalising a peace initiative which the administration insists will be good for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But Mr Abbas, in a speech to senior members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation last week, rebuffed in advance.

The Palestinian president was in Brussels on Monday to address European Union leaders, who he hopes will take on an active role in peacemaking as a counterweight to Washington. Frederica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, assured Mr Abbas of the bloc's commitment to a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital of two states.

Mr Pence arrived in Israel on Sunday night from Jordan, where King Abdullah told him there was "no choice but to restore confidence for advancing a plan that will lead to a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with its capital East Jerusalem", according to the official Jordanian news agency Petra.

Crazy Rich Asians

Director: Jon M Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeon, Gemma Chan

Four stars

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

Company profile

Name: Tratok Portal

Founded: 2017

Based: UAE

Sector: Travel & tourism

Size: 36 employees

Funding: Privately funded

UNpaid bills:

Countries with largest unpaid bill for UN budget in 2019

USA – $1.055 billion

Brazil – $143 million

Argentina – $52 million

Mexico – $36 million

Iran – $27 million

Israel – $18 million

Venezuela – $17 million

Korea – $10 million

Countries with largest unpaid bill for UN peacekeeping operations in 2019

USA – $2.38 billion

Brazil – $287 million

Spain – $110 million

France – $103 million

Ukraine – $100 million

 

The specs

Engine: 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8
Transmission: eight-speed auto
Power: 617hp
Torque: 750Nm
Price: from Dh630,000
On sale: now

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Iraq negotiating over Iran sanctions impact
  • US sanctions on Iran’s energy industry and exports took effect on Monday, November 5.
  • Washington issued formal waivers to eight buyers of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue limited imports. Iraq did not receive a waiver.
  • Iraq’s government is cooperating with the US to contain Iranian influence in the country, and increased Iraqi oil production is helping to make up for Iranian crude that sanctions are blocking from markets, US officials say.
  • Iraq, the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped last month at a record 4.78 million barrels a day, former Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said on Oct. 20. Iraq exported 3.83 million barrels a day last month, according to tanker tracking and data from port agents.
  • Iraq has been working to restore production at its northern Kirkuk oil field. Kirkuk could add 200,000 barrels a day of oil to Iraq’s total output, Hook said.
  • The country stopped trucking Kirkuk oil to Iran about three weeks ago, in line with U.S. sanctions, according to four people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t allowed to speak to media.
  • Oil exports from Iran, OPEC’s third-largest supplier, have slumped since President Donald Trump announced in May that he’d reimpose sanctions. Iran shipped about 1.76 million barrels a day in October out of 3.42 million in total production, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
  • Benchmark Brent crude fell 47 cents to $72.70 a barrel in London trading at 7:26 a.m. local time. U.S. West Texas Intermediate was 25 cents lower at $62.85 a barrel in New York. WTI held near the lowest level in seven months as concerns of a tightening market eased after the U.S. granted its waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.
Central Bank's push for a robust financial infrastructure
  • CBDC real-value pilot held with three partner institutions
  • Preparing buy now, pay later regulations
  • Preparing for the 2023 launch of the domestic card initiative
  • Phase one of the Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FiT) completed
Spare

Profile

Company name: Spare

Started: March 2018

Co-founders: Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah

Based: UAE

Sector: FinTech

Investment: Own savings. Going for first round of fund-raising in March 2019

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round