Egypt’s Coptic Church has rejected a meeting requested by US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit later this month in protest against Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, MENA state news agency reported on Saturday.
The Church “excused itself from hosting Mike Pence” when he visits Egypt, citing President Donald Trump’s decision “at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people”, MENA said.
On Saturday, the Palestinian foreign minister revealed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet US Vice President Mike Pence during Pence’s visit to the region this month, in a snub over the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The leading Protestant Christian in Egypt insisted on Friday that Jerusalem is a Palestinian Arab city. “It is inevitable that it will return to Palestinian sovereignty,” added Reverend Dr Andrea Zaki, the President of the Protestant Community of Egypt and General Director of the Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services.
According to the senior theologian, he has been in constant contact with international church organisations in an effort to mobilise support for the Palestinians “at this decisive moment” and “to reiterate that Jerusalem is an Arab city.”
Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.
While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.
Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.
Emboldened by Trump’s annoucement, Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant decided on Friday to promote a plan to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.