• Egypt's Coptic pope shuns US VP Mike Pence over Jerusalem

    In a statement released on Saturday, the Coptic Church said it "excused itself from hosting Mike Pence" when he visits Egypt, citing US President Donald Trump's decision made "at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people."

    Egypt's Coptic Church said it would pray for "wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East."

    Decision - Day - Egypt - Muslim - Cleric

    The decision comes a day after Egypt's top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb also refused to meet Pence.

    Egyptian Coptic Christians, the largest religious minority in the region, make up about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people.

    Coptic - Pope - Refusal - Pence - Solidarity

    The Coptic Pope's refusal to host Pence is largely symbolic but significant, because it demonstrates the Arab solidarity for Palestinians irrespective of religious affiliations.

    Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem has not only been criticized by Muslim countries; Germany, China and Russia are among scores of nations that have slammed the US president over the policy U-turn.

    Status - Jerusalem - Block - Peace - Negotiations

    The status of Jerusalem was a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, in particular the question of how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites.

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    Israel - Regards - Jerusalem - Capital - Majority

    While Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a majority of the international community rejects that claim, saying the city's status should be settled in peace talks with the Palestinians.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday it would take several years before the US opens an embassy in Jerusalem.

    Old - Testament - David - King - Kingdoms

    According to the Old Testament, David, king of the two partial kingdoms of Judah and Israel, conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites around 1000 BC. He moved his seat of government to Jerusalem, making it the capital and religious center of his kingdom. The Bible says David's son Solomon built the first temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel. Jerusalem became the center of Judaism.


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