Christian Leaders Urge Trump To Recognize Jerusalem As Israel's Capital

Posted May 17, 2017

Trump will visit the wall on his trip to Israel next week, the first sitting USA president to do so.

On Tuesday, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer both declined to say that the Western Wall is in Israel. The White House later said the officials' statements, which sparked outrage among Israelis and U.S. Jewish groups, did not reflect U.S. policy.

The Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, is located in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Trump is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories and the Vatican, the seat of the Catholic Church.

US officials planning the trip reportedly rejected an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accompany Trump, saying Monday that the Western Wall was in the West Bank. The Israel Museum houses some nice, safely neutral art zones.

Although Trump's pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, made during the presidential election campaign, could be on hold, US officials have hinted that he might make some other gesture to show Washington's new thinking on the city's status.

Friedman, who presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, has been a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank. The worldwide community doesn't recognize Israeli's claim of dominion over the eastern part of the city.

"They do not reflect the United States position, and certainly not the president's position", the spokesperson said.

Ruling Fatah party fares poorly in Palestinian elections
Several months ago, Hamas announced that it had elected senior military official Yehya Senwar as its leader in the Gaza Strip. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it was Fatah who excluded Gaza and Hamas because they were not interested in partnership.

David Friedman, the new US ambassador to Israel, gave his first interview since he landed in Israel on Monday to - where else?

The Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City (right) and the Dome of the Rock above.

According to the television report, Berns was joined by embassy economic adviser Jonathan Shrier, who also was allegedly involved in the episode.

Friedman's first stop was the Western Wall, where he said he "prayed for the president". He said Trump's decision would be informed by feedback from all sides, including "whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction".

McMaster added that Trump, who is also making stops in Saudi Arabia and The Vatican during his first trip overseas as president, is "going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world's great religions".

Previous administrations have declined to identify Jerusalem as being in Israel, out of concern for the diplomatic repercussions.

"Israel's position has been stated many times to the American government and to the world", he said.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 in moves never recognised by the global community.