It was rescheduled twice, called off, then announced again, but US vice president Mike Pence’s first trip to the Middle East is finally happening.
The visit, which also includes Jordan and Israel, has been shrouded by confusion, following the uproar over Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem last month, and an ultimately successful US tax reform vote for the president. Religious leaders have snubbed Mr Pence.
"The visit is a terrible idea, it's hard to find a worse planned and timed trip for a US senior official to the region than this one," Ilan Goldenberg, a Middle East security director at the Centre for New American Security (CNAS) told The National. Dispatching Mr Pence to the region, one month after Mr Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, then partially cutting US aid to Palestinian refugees, with no peace plan, is "an invite to increase tension" said Mr Goldenberg, who was chief of staff to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the Obama administration.
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