Trump NSA says status of Western Wall a 'policy decision'

New US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch pray at the Western Wall the holiest site where

Both highly sensitive issues made headlines in Israel on Tuesday as preparations intensified for Trump's visit to the country and the Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23.

"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". He's also due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

After his arrival in Tel Aviv on Monday, Friedman visited the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem, praying there and kissing the sacred site.

If Trump does go to the wall, he will be the first sitting USA president to do so.

"I know it's going to be an wonderful trip", he said.

The US, like most of the worldwide community, considers Jerusalem disputed ahead of final-status negotiations. It comes as the two countries are debating Trump's election pledge to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

He 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.

Trump administration officials, including McMaster and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell rushed to deny the report.

"We appreciate that President Donald Trump will make a historic trip to Israel next week and will be the first sitting president to visit and pray at Judaism's holiest site - the Western Wall of the Temple Mount", said OU President Mark Bane. "We've always thought that the Western Wall was part of Israel".

Israel seized the Western Wall in the 1967 war together with the rest of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

"Betrayal: Trump admin snubs Israel with Western Wall word games", is the headline on a commentary in Conservative Review.

As a major supporter of right-wing Israeli-based causes for many years, Friedman finds himself defending to the right the failure of President Trump to implement the campaign promises he - and surrogate spokesmen like Friedman - made during the campaign such as moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and allowing Israel to develop its communities built on land Israel conquered in the 1967 war that the Palestinians claim as their state.

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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 USA or of the President. "The tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis comes in on this", Haley said.

Trump himself has sent mixed signals over how he will approach the decades-old conflict. This is in the West Bank. "His love for and commitment to the State of Israel is rock-solid and enjoys his highest priority".

He also congratulated Friedman for visiting the Western Wall on Monday, saying "it was a strong gesture of solidarity".

"We will get it done", Trump said, flaunting what he has described as his deal-making prowess.

The comments purportedly inspired a shouting match, with the Israeli officials calling their American counterparts "boorish" and "arrogant".

The worldwide community regards all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. He expressed support for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and seemed inclined to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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

"It would advance it by fixing a historic wrong and shatter the Palestinian illusion that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel".

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.

In a statement to the media Sunday, Netanyahu claimed that moving the embassy would be good for peace.

"I am happy to welcome you and your dear wife to Israel, to Jerusalem".

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