Official's Western Wall comment 'doesn't represent Trump or US policy': WH
A senior member of a US delegation preparing for President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to Israel reportedly snapped that the Western Wall is "not your territory" while discussing details of the president's visit to the Jerusalem holy site with with Israeli counterparts.
A report by Israel's Channel 2 news on Monday detailed the bitter exchange ahead of Trump's May 22-23 visit to Israel and the West Bank.
The US delegation is said to have opposed a request that Trump be accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu oh his visit to the Western Wall, with Trump's team calling it "a private visit" by the president.
After the Israeli delegation inquired whether a TV crew providing live coverage of Trump's visit would be permitted to film his stop at the site, the senior American official snapped: "What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank," Channel 2 reports.
Apparently confirming the exchange, a White House official told the Times of Israel that the comments were "not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the President,"
An official in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office told Channel 2 that Israel has requested clarification from Washington on the incident, and that Netanyahu is confident that the reported remark is not reflective of Trump's policies.
"The comment that the Western Wall is part of the West Bank was received with astonishment," a statement to from the Israeli official said.
"Israel is certain that the comment contradicts President Trump’s policy as expressed in his fierce opposition to the latest UN Security Council resolution," it added, referring to UN Resolution 2334, passed in December just before Trump took office, which rejected Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967 and claims the entire city as its undivided capital. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
No sitting US president has ever visited the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, since American policy maintains that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be determined.
The East Jerusalem holy site is part of the Temple Mount complex, a hilltop compound revered by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Trump controversially campaigned on a promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a move that would break with decades of precedent and essentially recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
Netanyahu on Monday denied a claim by a Fox News correspondent that the Israeli leader had asked Trump to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Not sure if Bibi told Trump don't move the embassy to Jerusalem but I'm 100% sure it was the message the White House got on day of the call https://t.co/IItgMkWAa2
— Andrew Beatty (@AndrewBeatty) May 15, 2017
"The things published on Fox News are a lie," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
The statement was accompanied by a transcript of Netanyahu's meeting with Trump which took place at the White House in February, offered as proof that the Fox News report was false.
The transcript said: "From a summary of the lunch at the White House: 'President Trump was asked about the embassy and explained that it (moving the embassy) will not cause bloodshed in the region, like he has been warned against (President Trump).'"
Trump will have to decide by the beginning of June whether to continue with the policy of his predecessors and again block the embassy's transfer by renewing a rolling presidential waiver.
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As we near Yom Yerushalayim, it is important to understand the Jewish tie to Jerusalem. Learn about it from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsvw4NS1MnI&feature=youtu.be
Watch Ambassador Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, discuss Trump's Israel visit and more on Fox News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKcTcia1P0M