Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Israeli Knesset was interrupted Monday when Arab lawmakers held up signs and engaged in a scuffle with security staff. The lawmakers were protesting President Trump’s decision last year to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the U.S. embassy there. The issue of Jerusalem is highly contentious and is considered to be a final status issue of any lasting peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Lawmakers from the Arab Joint List, were forcibly removed from Pence’s address, which they had promised earlier to boycott. Footage showed Israeli security officers ripping the signs from the lawmakers’ hands before physically removing them from the hall.
Vice President Pence said President Trump’s decision was in the best interest of the U.S. and the “best interest of peace,” but the decision is likely to continue to anger Arabs as Pence announced the schedule of the move would be shortened. Pence committed to moving the embassy before the end of 2019.
That decision to move the embassy has angered Palestinians and drew widespread condemnation from countries and leaders the world over.