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Who is Mike Pence, and what does he want?

US Vice President Mike Pence (3rd L) and his wife Karen Pence (2nd L) pose for a photo with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (4th L) and his wife Sara Netanyahu (5th L) in Jerusalem on 23 January 2018 [Haim Zach/Israeli Press Office/Anadolu Agency]

Our situation with US Vice President Mike Pence seems to be worse than that with his boss Donald Trump, although the latter chose the former and is loyal to his programme in support of Israel.

The celebratory welcome that Pence received in Israel reflects the magnitude of the hopes that the Israelis have for this man, who completes the circle of Zionists in Trump’s team. This includes the US President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; his more extreme colleague Jason Greenblatt; and the extremist Zionist US Ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman.

These individuals represent the Zionist doctrine in its traditional form; Pence, though, represents it from a Christian point of view. He is an Evangelical Christian who believes that supporting Israel is a prerequisite for Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ and the end of the world. This is actually a part of what is essentially an anti-Semitic doctrine, but for the Zionists, it means that, for now, they get limitless support. When Armageddon comes, believe such Christians, the Jews will either follow Jesus or be killed. The Zionist Israeli leadership believes that they will cross that bridge when they get to it.

While David Ben-Gurion used to call Jewish doctrines “useful legends” (to be used by the political ideology called Zionism) this can also apply to Pence’s doctrine and the religious trend that he represents. Evangelical Christians backed Trump in the US presidential election, having previously taken control of the Republican Party during the Presidency of George W Bush. Trump’s victory confirmed their control over Washington, contrary to expectations. It is this same trend which Trump is trying to placate with his extreme and unquestioning support for Israel.

Human Rights Watch: Pence ignored ‘entrenched discrimination’ against Palestinians

This is not a personal analysis, it is fact confirmed by the Israeli media which has discussed little else over the past few days. This is the doctrinal aspect of Pence’s position and attitude towards Israel. The media also explained that Pence played a major role in pushing Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is the first senior US official to visit the Buraq Wall (known to Jews as the “Wailing Wall”) during his time in office. He had originally planned to hold his press conference there if it hadn’t been for the objections of the Wall’s Rabbi, as revealed a few weeks ago before his original visit was postponed.

What is the main objective for Pence’s visit? This is an issue that definitely does not require analysis, as his purpose is completely clear: restoring negotiations in an effort to push for the “deal of the century” adopted and formulated by Kushner. If the final goal is achieved by raising questions about the difficulty of the deal by the Palestinian leadership and the Arabs, then the political process will cancel out the Jerusalem issue, as if it had never happened, and Washington will regain control of the negotiations’ initiative.

This is all a temporary goal, and the issue of Iran and the Sunni alliance confronting the government in Tehran will be used to encourage the Palestinians and apply pressure and intimidation in order to achieve the desired goals. Yesterday, an Israeli website revealed the “flexibility” of the PA regarding the US role on the condition that international guarantees are provided.

This is a major catastrophe, as bypassing Trump’s Jerusalem announcement as if it never happened is no small matter. It confirms that the city has been pushed off the negotiation agenda. This confirms what we have all suspected for years, but the negotiators ignored the issue in order to establish the PA, as they believed that it was a step forward to achieve an independent sovereign state on the territories occupied in 1967.

Pence’s speech in Israeli Knesset ‘gift to extremists’, says Erekat

Thus, the Israelis have succeeded in absorbing the reaction to Trump’s decision, so the comprehensive intifada inside the Palestinian arena has not yet started in practice, nor has the Arab position solidified. There is no doubt that the latter stems from the former, meaning the greatest responsibility falls on the Palestinians, despite the fact that the miserable Arab situation has undoubtedly contributed to their equally miserable situation.

Translated from Thenewkhalij, 23 January 2018

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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