Pope Tawadros II - File photo
CAIRO - 9 December 2017: Pope Tawadros of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark rejected to meet with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, who will visit Egypt on December 20, announced Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church in a Saturday statement.
"In the light of the recent decision taken by the US administration regarding Jerusalem, which was issued at an inappropriate time and made in disregard to the sentiments of millions of Arab, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church apologizes that it ill not receive Mr. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States during his visit slated for December," the statement read.
On Friday, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb announced his rejection to meet with Pence, saying "How can I sit with those who granted what they do not own to those who do not deserve it."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced his rejection to meet with Pence, although the White House has warned that rejecting Pence’s meeting could have negative impact.
On Wednesday night, United States’ President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during a televised speech from the White House. Trump’s decision was met by a barrage of criticism and condemnations from many Arab and world leaders, while protests took places in Gaza strip, West Bank and different parts of the Arab world.
Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinians West Bank on Friday; Israeli forces fired tear gas on the protesters, Killing two Palestinians and injuring more than 300 others. On Saturday, the Israeli airstrikes killed two others and injured dozens, raising the injured toll to 1,114 people, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health on Saturday.