Source: Debkafile, January 24, 2018
DEBKAfile exclusive report: In an exceptionally stern warning, Vice President Mike Pence put Egyptian and Jordanian leaders on immediate notice to stop fighting President Donald Trump’s Palestinian policy and his decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Pence warned President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and King Abdullah that, if they wanted to keep their good relations with President Trump and benefit from US economic and military assistance, they had better desist from their anti-Trump rhetoric and start playing ball with his approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. This was the main theme of his conversations with the two leaders in Cairo and Amman on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 20-21.
The language Pence used in referring to the Palestinians was especially harsh, our sources reveal. He asked El-Sisi and Abdullah to convey a tough message to the Palestinian leaders, and Mahmoud Abbas in particular (who refused to receive him in Ramallah): If they continue to hurl insults at Trump, his decision to slash $60 m from the annual US budget for UNRWA projects for Palestinian refugees was just the beginning, he said. If it went on, Washington would block Palestinian Authority access to funding from western and international institutions. The message added: “If the Palestinians don’t cut it out forthwith, the administration will impose a total freeze on US economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority and embark on a reassessment of their relations. This process could drag on for many months or more, Pence warned, indicating that Washington-Ramallah ties would be put on ice in the interim.
In Cairo, Pence also discussed US-Egyptian cooperation in combating terror with the Egyptian President and in Amman, he affirmed US respect for the king’s role as custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem.