While the government shutdown enters its third day, Vice President Mike Pence welcomed support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his trip to the Middle East. He also endured condemnation from Jordanian, Palestinian, and Arab lawmakers in the region for President Trump’s decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. One of the more poignant instances of the latter occurred during Pence’s remarks to the Knesset, Israel’s parliamentary body, when Arab members defiantly heckled the American vice president.
According to the Washington Post, “Israeli Arab lawmakers staged a walk out at the beginning of Pence’s speech, resulting in a small scuffle.” Video uploaded by the Associated Press shows the moment the Knesset members held up signs for a brief moment. The signs were quickly taken away by other assembly members and security, prompting the protesting lawmakers to leave. Meanwhile, the Post adds that Palestinian officials have completely “snubbed” Pence during his Middle East trip. Later on, he told the Knesset “the embassy will open next year.”
Before traveling to Israel, Pence and his team met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and other officials on Sunday. The king criticized the American entourage during a series of remarks regarding Trump’s controversial embassy decision:
“I had continuously voiced over the past year, in my meetings with Washington, my concerns regarding the U.S. decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” he said, addressing Pence and his delegation from across a dining table laid out for lunch. “Today we have a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations.”
Pence later called the king’s comments “candid but cordial,” noting that “friends occasionally have disagreements.” Whether or not he was as “red-faced” as he reportedly was when a pastor decried Trump’s alleged “sh*thole” comment during a sermon remains to be seen.