Pence announces new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem to open by next year

JERUSALEM -- Vice President Mike Pence announced Monday during his visit to Israel that the U.S. would expedite moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, opening it by the end of next year. Pence also called for Palestinians to restart peace negotiations, but moving the embassy has driven them further away from the negotiating table.

Israel gave Pence the sort of welcome usually reserved for a president. But during his speech to the Knesset, Israel's legislature, Arab lawmakers made it clear how they felt. They heckled Pence, holding up signs reading "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" before being escorted out. 

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital has infuriated the Palestinians, but Pence only repeated his message Monday.

Israel Pence

Israeli Arab members are escorted by security out as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks in Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Ariel Schalit / AP

"Jerusalem is Israel's capital," Pence said. "As such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

A former hotel is believed to be the site where the new U.S. embassy will be built, but Arab leaders warn that making the move will destabilize the region and thwart the chance to find peace.

Palestinians have protested what they see as a U.S. bias toward Israel and say America can no longer broker peace. There was widespread frustration at a U.N. medical clinic in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Monday where the U.S. just cut funds for refugee services.

"Mr. Pence is not welcome," one patient told us. "He is not welcome here at all after President Trump's declaration."

That clinic is facing a $65 million decrease in U.S. funding. But the director of the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees said they're trying to make up for the shortfall so they don't have to cut services.