Top Trump Aide Won't Say If Western Wall Is Part Of Israel

"It's part of the West Bank", according to the Times of Israel.

"We look forward to receiving President Trump and we want to work with you and with the President these coming years to strengthen our great alliance".

A diplomatic spat has erupted between the United States and Israel after a USA official said the Western Wall "was not part of Israeli territory".

Mr. Trump plans to pray at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, on a trip that includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Vatican City in Rome, said National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. In 1980, Israel declared "reunited" Jerusalem its capital in a move unrecognized by major states.

The status of sovereignty over the wall became a political issue between the United States and Israel earlier this week, casting a cloud over the highly anticipated visit by the new president. According to reports in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to join Trump at the wall but the USA declined, with one official telling the Israelis that the site is "not your territory". The Americans refused, saying it was to be a "private visit".

An official in Netanyahu's office said on Monday that Israel has contacted Washington about the matter.

Israeli officials have sought to draw distinctions between the Old City, where the Western Wall is, East Jerusalem, which includes areas surrounding the city, and the West Bank in general, though they were all captured at the same time in the same war.

"This isn't your territory. It's not in your territory - it's part of the West Bank". That could be a "grave violation", a former Mossad chief tells the Jerusalem Post. "The rest are extras, including Prime Minister Netanyahu".

Israeli media outlet Walla! reported later that the White House tried to distance itself from the comments, saying that it did not reflect the position of the U.S. or of the President.

Yet today when it was brought up by the media, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was very evasive, refusing to elaborate beyond saying that the Western Wall is "clearly in Jerusalem".


During a meeting at the White House this month, the president reportedly shared classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

Trump will be the first sitting President to visit the wall as part of a swing through the middle east and to Europe.

The former USA administration of Barack Obama was deeply opposed to Israel's expansion of the settlements and in December withheld its veto from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the policy. He's also due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

Also on Tuesday, Trump's controversial choice for ambassador David Friedman presented his credentials in a ceremony at President Reuven Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem. Friedman departed from diplomatic protocol upon his arrival on Monday by visiting the wall - a highly unusual move for a new envoy.

Senior Washington officials reiterated on Tuesday evening that the US embassy will indeed be moved to Jerusalem.

During a follow up from a second reporter, he said it was a policy issue he should not comment on.

Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 1995, but presidents for decades have treated the status of Jerusalem as unresolved.

Trump received strong support from pro-Israel evangelical voters during the 2016 election cycle and was warmly received at the Rev.

A top House Republican is criticizing President Trump's national security adviser for declining to clarify the White House position on the location of the Western Wall.


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