White House Official: U.S. Hasn't Been in Touch With Palestinians Since Trump's Jerusalem Move

White House official says no other country believes U.S.-led peace process can be replaced, adds he doesn't think Palestinians believe that either

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority president, gestures while speaking during a news conference on the sidelines of a Eurogroup meeting of European Union (EU) finance ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
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Senior White House staff have not been in touch with Palestinian leadership since before U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, a senior White House official said Tuesday as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was visiting Israel.

The official said the Trump administration hopes to present its Middle East peace plan in 2018, but noted that both Israelis and Palestinians have to be ready.

He said that the U.S. is still working on the plan, but its America's job to make sure it is fair.

The official noted that no other country believes a U.S.-led peace process can be replaced, and said he does not think the Palestinians believe that either.

He said that he hoped the peace plan will spill into the broader region and help create ties between Israel and its neighbors.

"In the weeks ahead our administration will advance its plan to open the embassy in Jerusalem and that embassy will open before the end of next year," Pence told Israeli lawmakers on Monday, receiving a standing ovation.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Pence said he hopes "we are at the dawn of a new era" of renewed efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.