USA must explain Western Wall comment

Trump Should Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

Trump Should Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

"Prime Minister Netanyahu's office has not received any notice about a decision by the US government to move or not to move the US Embassy", an official notice said.

NY [U.S.], May 16:: A rift has been created between Washington and Jerusalem after an American diplomat described the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City as part of the West Bank.

While Mr Trump is set to become the first serving U.S. president to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, Mr Netanyahu will not be present, the White House said on Tuesday.

An official in Netanyahu's office said the US comment was "received with astonishment" and that Israel had asked the White House for an explanation.

As President Donald Trump prepares for an extended overseas trip that will include a stop in Israel, tensions between the Trump administration and the Israelis appear to be at an all-time high.

Subsequent reports by ABC News citing current and former USA officials, and BuzzFeed citing two Israeli intelligence officers, apparently confirmed the report indicating that Israel had indeed shared specific intel with the U.S. regarding an Islamic State plot to smuggle explosive-laden laptops onto planes. "However, we are dismayed that just days before the trip, the White House's National Security Adviser declined to state at the press podium that the Western Wall is part of Israel".

However, it later emerged that the official was David Berns, a political counselor at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem who took up the role during the Obama administration.

"Now we ask you to send a message early in your administration that the United States will indeed honor its strongest and only true democratic ally in the Middle East by respecting its capital city-Jerusalem-and immediately moving the US Embassy there".

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"Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump", Dermer said, Reuters reported. US officials announced ahead of the call that neither Netanyahu nor any other Israeli officials will be permitted to accompany Trump on his visit to the Western Wall.

Also, US representatives in Jerusalem reportedly angered the Israelis by turning down a request to have Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tag along.

Trump had said during his campaign he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, which would effectively recognize the city as Israel's capital.

On Tuesday, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer affirmed that the holy site is "clearly in Jerusalem".

Palestinians see settlements as a severe impediment to statehood.

But on Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump was considering the best move to facilitate renewing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that have been frozen since 2014, hinting he might have had second thoughts.

McMaster said Trump - who is due to arrive in Israel for a 24-hour visit next week - wasn't aware where the information about ISIS threats to airliners originated or how it was gathered. "The statement released by the office included a transcript from Netanyahu's meeting with Trump in Washington, which took place this February, acting as proof that the report provided by Powell was false".

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