nsucurrent.com May 23, 2018

Row over Trump's Israel policy

17 May 2017, 01:23 | Ruby West

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The diplomatic dust-up happened, according to Israel's Channel Two News, when US representatives in Jerusalem turned down a request to have Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tag along with Trump, saying the president was making a "private" visit to Judaism's holiest sites.

One US official said the Western Wall was part of the West Bank, Channel Two reported. According to reports in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to join Trump at the wall but the US declined, with one official telling the Israelis that the site is "not your territory".

The remark runs counter to Israeli claims on Jerusalem as its united capital, and contradicts a campaign promise by Trump to recognize the whole city as part of Israel.

So I told you this weekend about Secretary of State Tillerson making the comment that moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem would depend on a peace deal between Palestine and Israel - something we know isn't just going to happen.

Friedman is an orthodox Jew and a strong supporter of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. 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.

It will be a hard issue to navigate on both sides, as Trump is eager to play up his pro-Israel bonafides during the visit, and pointing out the occupation doesn't help with that.

Hier restated his conviction that the policy confusion on Jerusalem would end soon after Trump lands in Israel.

Trump is reportedly planning to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. He said the topic would be discussed between Trump and his counterparts during next week's trip.

"Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel", Sen.

A Jewish-American bankruptcy lawyer, Friedman has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - the basis of years of U.S. diplomatic efforts.

Israel objected and sought to make it a public visit with Netanyahu escorting him, which U.S. diplomats rejected, with one noting Israel doesn't have sovereignty over the Western Wall. Trump's controversial new ambassador, David Friedman also presented his credentials to the Israeli president at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

"Israel is convinced that this statement contradicts President Trump's policies".

No Israeli leaders will join President Trump to the Western Wall. "We'll move the embassy, just give us time", the official was quoted as saying.

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

"The view that the Western Wall is part of the West Bank was received with shock", the official said.

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