Mike Pence reschedules Middle East visit for January

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Pence was originally scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the trip, but a Palestinian Authority official said last week that "they are no longer coordinating with them [the U.S.] on this visit", noting that they were unaware of the delay.

Pence's visit was supposed to begin on Tuesday night, with a stop for a meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, followed by a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a visit to the Western Wall, and a speech at the Knesset.

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.

The announcement comes amid outrage over the USA move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, though officials say the delay is not due to the Jerusalem decision.

Trump's decision countered an worldwide consensus that Jerusalem's status should be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

A senior official said Monday that even though "the tax vote is still in very good shape", the last-minute failure of health-care reform legislation in July - following an unexpected thumbs down from Sen. The Republicans' already thin margin in the Senate became even more precarious when McCain, who is battling brain cancer, was hospitalized for side effects of his treatment.

On December 9, the leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian faith, the largest Christian group in the Middle East, refused to meet Pence.

Abbas' diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, said Abbas would not meet with Pence "because the US has crossed red lines" with its decision on Jerusalem.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction had called for a massive demonstration to coincide with Pence's visit and ruled out meeting him in Ramallah or Bethlehem. The vice president wanted to make sure that he was in place to break a tie if it were necessary, the official said.