Trump Should Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

17 May, 2017, 13:17 | Author: Celia Hoffman

The row erupted a few days before the first official visit of US President Donald Trump to the region, Xinhua reported.

Israeli media reported that a staffer at the US Consulate in Jerusalem had told an Israeli member of the advance team planning Trump's visit that the Western Wall is "not your territory but part of the West Bank".

"The premise of that article is false - that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security", Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, said Tuesday.

In the wake of the turmoil, Trump's visit Israel next week could certainly prove to be a contentious one.

Still, there is a reason why no sitting USA president has even visited the site: It was seized from the Jordanians, along with East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, and it's not officially recognized as Israeli territory.

A vicious argument reportedly ensued, with Israeli officials asserting that Jerusalem is indeed "territory holy to Israel".

On Monday, however, Israel's Channel Two News reported that members of a USA advance team preparing the presidential tour told Israeli representatives that the Western Wall is not part of Israeli territory, therefore Israel could not be involved in planning that part of Trump's trip.

At that meeting, he said he would support a single state if it led to peace, delighting Israeli right-wingers who want to see their country annex most of the occupied West Bank.

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Trump is a skilled negotiator who can help both parties and reach an agreement, said Friedman. "His love for and commitment to the State of Israel is rock-solid and it enjoys his highest priority", Friedman said during a ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.

The letter was signed by the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) an informal network of Christian leaders, managed by the US Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, representing some 60 million Christians across America.

During the 1967 Six Day War, Israel captured eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.

Asked about the remarks, a spokesperson for the Trump administration told the Jerusalem Post, "These comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House".

But when asked on Tuesday, McMaster would only say that the location of the Western Wall is "a policy decision".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted new United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman welcoming him to Jerusalem "our eternal capital", on Tuesday.

Netanyahu responded by saying on Monday that "not only would moving the embassy not harm the peace process, but to the contrary. Israel has made contact with the United States on this matter", he said.

Second, the Trump administration has rolled back some robust pro-Israel policies it advocated before assuming office.

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