Opinion: Pence’s trip to the Middle East strengthened our relationship with Israel

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands after signing the guest book in Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - While Congress was busy shutting down the federal government this past weekend, Vice President Pence traveled to the Middle East to represent our country. The vice president met with American troops during a refuel stop in Ireland and at an undisclosed location near Syria.

Then came meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan in their capitals of Cairo and Amman. The vice president wrapped up the trip with 48 hours in Israel. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with our vice president.

The timing of the trip was extremely important. It comes on the heels of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plan to move the United States embassy in Israel there.

The state and leaders of Israel continue to express their gratitude for the support they are seeing from the Trump administration. That treatment is very different from the cold relationship toward Israel continuously exhibited by President Obama.

Both the President of Egypt El-Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan did criticize the U.S. decision on Jerusalem in meetings with Vice President Pence. The rash of violence promised by the opponents of the move, however, has thankfully not happened.

Here is the bottom line: in addition to continuing our close cooperation with Israel, this trip by Vice President Pence has been important in allowing for Arab countries to diplomatically express their concerns while continuing to avoid violence.

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