President Trump to make historic visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem

by Ben Pena May 17, 2017, 13:50
President Trump to make historic visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's national security adviser on Tuesday sidestepped questions about whether Jerusalem's Western Wall is part of Israel ahead of Trump's planned visit to the Old City.

During a tour to prepare the visit, U.S. diplomats reportedly told Israeli officials that Trump's visit to the Western Wall would be private since Israel has no jurisdiction in the area, according to a report on Israel's Channel 2 TV news.

Although Netanyahu has gone on record many times asking the USA to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Fox News journalist Conor Powell claimed that ahead of Trump's upcoming visit to Israel, Netanyahu has been secretly begging the United States president to keep the American embassy where it is, prompting a vehement refutation of the claim by Tel Aviv, according to the Times of Israel.

According to Channel 2, Netanyahu's team asked the USA official if the prime minister could join Trump at praying at the Western Wall.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city to be its undivided capital. The President will meet with Palestinian President Abbas in Bethlehem and with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem. There have been some signs that the Israeli government, while publicly supportive of moving the embassy, has quietly raised concerns that doing so could enflame the political and security situation.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump will address a gathering of representatives of 50 Muslim nations in what McMaster said would be an "inspiring yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and the president's hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam".

"It would advance it by fixing a historic wrong and shatter the Palestinian illusion that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel".

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Friedman, who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, is expected to live in the USA ambassador's official residence in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herziliya. "It is a sign of the unbreakable bond between Israel and the US", he said, according to a statement released by the President's Residence.

According to Channel 2, the same official told members of Netanyahu's team that Trump's visit to the Western Wall was a private visit and also added: "No way, why is this your business?"

The comments came on the same day that the Trump administration's new ambassador to Israel arrived in the country and immediately paid a visit to the Western Wall.

The rival claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and no countries now have their embassies in occupied Jerusalem, instead basing them in Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Friedman's first stop was the Western Wall, where he said he "prayed for the president".

Rivlin called on the "whole world to recognise Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel".

The Trump administration has vowed to do this multiple times but has demurred on the highly controversial move since assuming office.


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