Western Wall is part of the West Bank

Posted May 18, 2017

Israel demanded an explanation from the White House Monday after a US official reportedly questioned the country's claim to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.

Trump is expected to arrive in Israel next Monday as part of his Middle East visit in a bid to reach a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Since his inauguration, Trump has faced a flood of warnings from top Arab diplomats and a personal appeal from Jordan's King Abdullah to not move the USA embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

An independent state is not only the aspiration of the vast majority of Palestinians but has been the objective of successive US administrations and the worldwide community.

Netanyahu vehemently denies the report.

Earlier in the day, Conor Powell posted on Twitter, "Everyone I've spoken to in DC that has been briefed on #Jerusalem embassy move says #Netanyahu told #Trump not to move embassy at this time".

The front of the U.S. embassy is seen in Tel Aviv, Israel January 20, 2017.

In a bitter diplomatic incident, a senior member of the U.S. delegation making preparations for Donald Trump's visit to Israel next week angrily rejected a request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall, and then sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall is "not your territory".

The families of terror victims appealed to Trump, offering to meet with him and asserting that the Palestinian Authority incites violence by offering to pay terrorists in exchange for committing heinous acts against Israelis. Pressing for more than that might have come across as pushy, but it still wouldn't have warranted a rude response such as the one reported by Israel's Channel 2, assuming that's what really happened. "On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel".

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Netanyahu's office expressed shock, said an official speaking anonymously because he was not authorised to discuss the matter. Embassy and the Western Wall apparently on the itinerary, what Trump does in Jerusalem will be eagerly watched by many.

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It seems that the official was prompted to make the statement after members of Netanyahu's team asked if Netanyahu could join Trump on the visit to the Western Wall and whether Israeli photographers could document the event, to which the Americans replied that the Western Wall was a "disputed territory".

The date coincides with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six Day War, which will be commemorated in Israel beginning the evening of May 23 and the day of May 24.

The White House distanced itself from the alleged comments, saying in statements to United States media that they did not reflect the views of the adminstration.

After he contributed a hefty sum to his election campaign and even gave some $5 million for the inauguration, Trump is daring to insolently present new conditions for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "The embassy - the PM supports moving it", a summary of the Oval Office meeting read.

Top officials at the State Department, Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community are urging the White House not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, warning that such a decision would be harmful to the peace process and carry broader regional risks, a senior administration official and several USA officials told CNN.

The former bankruptcy lawyer has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of U.S. peace efforts.

Jewish-American Friedman is a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' opposition to the move is known to Trump, and the positions of the Arab leaders he's met are no secret, either.

He has also advocated moving the embassy to Jerusalem.