Palestinians to snub Pence during visit over Jerusalem move

CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during Pence's visit to the region this month in a snub over the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Palestinian Foreign Minister said on Saturday.

Violence erupted for a third day in Gaza in response to President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday, which overturned decades of U.S. policy towards the Middle East.

Israeli air strikes killed two Palestinian gunmen on Saturday after militants fired rockets from the enclave into Israel on Friday, which had been declared a "day of rage" by Palestinian factions.

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem has infuriated the Arab world and upset Western allies, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks sparking more violence in the region.

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Arabs, Muslims protest Trump's Jerusalem decision
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Arabs, Muslims protest Trump's Jerusalem decision
Demonstrators pray during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Palestinians react during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinian demonstrators burn posters of the US president in Bethlehem's Manger Square in protest to him declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6, 2017. Abbas said the United States can no longer play the role of peace broker after Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER (Photo credit should read MUSA AL SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian refugee family watches a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering an address where he is expected to announce that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Palestinian refugee family watches a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering an address where he is expected to announce that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Palestinian refugee family watches a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering an address where he is expected to announce that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
A Palestinian refugee watches a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering an address where he is expected to announce that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
A Palestinian refugee family watches a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering an address where he is expected to announce that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
U.S. President Donald Trump and ?Vice President Mike Pence? arrive for Trump to deliver remarks recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Palestinians react during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinians react during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinians react during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Palestinians prepare to burn a representation of an Israeli flag during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Hamas supporters stage a protest against the possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City , Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. President Donald Trump is forging ahead with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (Photo by Ezz al-Zanoun/NurPhoto(
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh during a protest against the possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City , Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. President Donald Trump is forging ahead with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (Photo by Ezz al-Zanoun/NurPhoto(
Hamas supporters stage a protest against the possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City , Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. President Donald Trump is forging ahead with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (Photo by Ezz al-Zanoun/NurPhoto(
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh during a protest against the possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City , Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. President Donald Trump is forging ahead with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (Photo by Ezz al-Zanoun/NurPhoto(
A woman holds a sign during a demonstration against the US and Israel at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged protests in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian demonstrators stand on posters of the US president in Bethlehem's Manger Square in protest to him declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6, 2017. Abbas said the United States can no longer play the role of peace broker after Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER (Photo credit should read MUSA AL SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian demonstrators burn posters of the US president in Bethlehem's Manger Square in protest to him declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6, 2017. Abbas said the United States can no longer play the role of peace broker after Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP PHOTO / Musa AL SHAER (Photo credit should read MUSA AL SHAER/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans during a demonstration against the US and Israel in front of the US consulate in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Around 1,500 people gathered outside the well-protected compound close to the Bosphorus which was sealed off by police with barricades, an AFP correspondent said. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - DECEMBER 6: Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh (4th L) attends a protest against US President Donald Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital, in Gaza City, Gaza on December 6, 2017. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - DECEMBER 6: Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh attends a protest against US President Donald Trumps recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital, in Gaza City, Gaza on December 6, 2017. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Protesters chant slogans and hold a poster with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egypt's former president Mohamed Morsi and placards reading 'There is no you or me, there is Jerusalem- Killer Israel get out of Palestine' during a demonstration against the US and Israel at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged protests in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester burns an Israeli flag printed on a piece of paper during a demonstration against the US and Israel in front of the US consulate in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Around 1,500 people gathered outside the well-protected compound close to the Bosphorus which was sealed off by police with barricades, an AFP correspondent said. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters chant slogans and raise their fingers during a demonstration against the US and Israel in front of the US consulate in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Around 1,500 people gathered outside the well-protected compound close to the Bosphorus which was sealed off by police with barricades, an AFP correspondent said. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester wearing a niqab waves a flag during a demonstration against the US and Israel in front of the US consulate in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Around 1,500 people gathered outside the well-protected compound close to the Bosphorus which was sealed off by police with barricades, an AFP correspondent said. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 06: Protesters wave flags and shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate on December 6, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. People gathered to protest after U.S President Donald Trump declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump went ahead with the announcement despite warnings from Middle East leaders and the Pope condemning the decision. The announcement which breaks decades of U.S. policy threatens to bring further instability to the region. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to critics in a statement before meetings in Paris on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron to be followed by a meeting with European foreign ministers in Brussels.

"I hear (from Europe) voices of condemnation over President Trump's historic announcement but I have not heard any condemnation for the rocket firing against Israel that has come (after the announcement) and the awful incitement against us," Netanyahu said.

Israel maintains that all of Jerusalem is its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The Trump administration says it is still committed to Palestinian-Israeli talks, that Israel's capital would be in Jerusalem under any serious peace plan, and that it has not taken a position on the city's borders. It says the moribund negotiations can be revived only by ditching outdated policies.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Palestinians will be looking for a new peace talks broker instead of the United States and would seek a UN Security Council resolution over Trump's decision.

"We will seek a new mediator from our Arab brothers and the international community," Maliki told reporters in Cairo before an Arab League meeting to discuss Trump's Jerusalem decision.

A Turkish presidential source said Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider the move.

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VP Mike Pence Abroad
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VP Mike Pence Abroad
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens to Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela while delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela (L) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence deliver a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Panama's deputy Foreign Minister Luis Hincapie (R) talks to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence upon his arrival to the Tocumen international airport in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) shakes hands with Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela after delivering a joint message at the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama, August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence meet at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017.REUTERS/Esteban Felix/Pool
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives to meet with Chile's President Michelle Bachelet (not pictured) at the government house in Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive at the International Airport of Santiago, Chile August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido
Argentina's Vice President Gabriela Michetti and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Eva Peron hall inside The Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
A man holds a sign that reads "Pence, get out - Trump, get out" during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy against the visit by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks next to Argentina's President Mauricio Macri during a news conference at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shake hands at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after his arrival in Cartagena, Colombia August 13, 2017. Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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A possible meeting with Pence has also been turned down by Egypt's Coptic Church, MENA state news agency reported.

White House and U.S. State Department officials did not respond to requests for comment. Palestinian officials said Pence had been due to meet Abbas on Dec. 19.

Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is leading efforts to restart negotiations, though his bid has shown little public progress so far.

ROCKETS, AIR STRIKES

Palestinian militants launched at least three rockets towards Israeli towns from Gaza after dark on Friday and Israel said it responded with air strikes that targeted a weapons depot, a military compound and two weapons manufacturing facilities.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, confirmed the two men killed in the pre-dawn strikes belonged to the group, which has urged Palestinians to keep up the confrontation with Israeli forces.

However, Palestinian protests on Saturday were less intense than on the previous two days. About 60 Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers across the Gaza-Israel border and the health ministry said at least 10 were wounded by Israeli fire.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians set fire to tires and threw stones and fire-bombs at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and, in a few instances, live fire. The Israeli military said one protester was arrested.

In East Jerusalem about 60 people demonstrated near the walled Old City, where paramilitary border police and officers on horseback tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas. Thirteen demonstrators were arrested and four officers were lightly injured by stones, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in protest and two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border. Scores more were wounded there and in the West Bank. Across the Arab and Muslim worlds, thousands more protesters had gathered to express solidarity.

The Turkish presidential source said Erdogan and Macron agreed during a phone call that Trump's move was worrying for the region and that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the U.S. decision.

Erdogan also spoke to the presidents of Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Azerbaijan on Saturday, the source said. On Wednesday, he called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey next week.

A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Saturday that Trump's move was a "gift to radicalism".

"Radicals and extremists will use that to fan the language of hate," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said at the Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain.

(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell, Ammar Awad and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Murad Sezer in Istanbul, Mostafa Hashem and Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Stephen Kalin in Manama and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Peter Graff and Nick Zieminski)

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