Pence delays trip to Egypt, Israel amid Jerusalem crisis

Pence delays trip to Egypt, Israel amid Jerusalem crisis

"This is all about the largest tax cut in American history and having the vice president and the full team here", the official said. "The Vice President looks forward to traveling to Egypt and Israel in January".

Rabinowitz said privately, however, that he feared violence if Pence were allowed to speak, since it could be seen as a political statement just two weeks after President Donald Trump announced the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a local television station reported.

U.S. has further alienated its allies by vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution that called for the USA declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital to be withdrawn.

"It has come to our attention that vice president Pence intends to make an official visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and asked me to receive him officially", Adeeb Jowdeh Al Husseini wrote in a letter, according to Israel's Channel 2.

Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, is a strong backer of Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinian officials have pressured local church leaders to reject Pence's visit and follow the example of the Egyptian Coptic Church whose pope has refused to meet the United States vice president due to the decision.

Originally, Pence had planned to leave Saturday for a almost week-long trip that included meetings with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Sissi, grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque and the pope of the Egyptian Coptic Church, who leads the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East. The administration also announced plans to eventually move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His trip will be delayed until next month.

Republican Senator John McCain is at home battling brain cancer and will miss the vote, while Thad Cochran missed votes last week, also for health issues.

The change of plans comes days after Palestinian officials cancelled their meeting with Pence in the West Bank following Trump's decision last week to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the package on Tuesday with the Senate vote to follow late Tuesday or early Wednesday. While they have not yet rescheduled his meetings, officials said that they hope the vice president will be able to keep all of his original appointments and perhaps visit additional countries in the region.