Palestinians shout slogans as they demonstrate against US Vice President's visit to Israel, in Nablus in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on January 22, 2018. (AFP Photo)
RAMALLAH, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- An official of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) slammed Monday the statement of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who is currently visiting Israel.
Pence reiterated earlier in Israel that his country would move its embassy to Jerusalem before the end of 2019, and that the U.S. administration is in support of a two-state solution, urging the Palestinian leadership to return to the table of negotiations.
Calling Pence's remarks as "ludicrous," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of PLO Executive Committee, refuted Pence's claim that he visited the region to promote peace and to resume the talks.
"The United States cannot talk about the peace process after undermining it by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital," she said.
The PLO official also slammed the United States for its cut on financial aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Pence started a four-day trip to the Middle East last Saturday, with stops at Egypt, Jordan and Israel. This is the first high-level visit by U.S. administration to Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, 2017.
Changing a long-held U.S. policy, Trump said he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the United States will relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
His statement was hailed by Israel but angered the Palestinians, with whom Pence has no meetings during his visit, and raised tensions in the region. The statement was also denounced by other Arab and European countries.
Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it shortly after, claiming it as part of its indivisible capital. The move, however, has never been recognized internationally.