Haley: 'I Believe the Western Wall Is Part of Israel'

Brittany BishopMay 17, 2017

Asked during a briefing Tuesday to clarify the administration's position on the Western Wall, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the reported comments do not reflect USA policy. "It's part of the West Bank", said the White House official, according to Channel 2.

A worker hangs Israeli and American flags on a lamppost along a freeway leading to Jerusalem, days before a planned visit by President Donald Trump, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

During a tour to prepare the visit, United States diplomats reportedly told Israeli officials that Trump's visit to the Western Wall would be private since Israel has no jurisdiction in the area, according to a report on Israel's Channel 2 TV news.

Hier restated his conviction that the policy confusion on Jerusalem would end soon after Trump lands in Israel.

Briefing reporters after McMaster Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Western Wall was "clearly in Jerusalem" but declined to say whether it was a part of Israel.

According to Channel 2, Netanyahu's team asked the US official if the prime minister could join Trump at praying at the Western Wall.

Israel captured the Old City, along with the rest of east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war.

"This isn't your territory. To leave open the suggestion that the sovereignty of the Kotel is attached to the West Bank is just mind-boggling to me".

Israeli media reported the reason for the change of venue resulted from a military regulation that prohibits helicopters from landing atop Masada, due to the flying rocks and dust that become whipped about from the windy conditions created by the propellers as the aircraft lands and takes off.

Netanyahu's office expressed shock, said an official speaking anonymously because he was not authorised to discuss the matter. Dr. Yuval Steinitz, who serves as Israel's Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water, leveled harsh criticism against the administration during an interview Monday.

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

Both issues provoked criticism of Trump's White House in Israel as preparations intensified for his visit to the country and the Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23.

Trump is also scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the heritage site at Masada, as well as holding meetings with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu.

The administration has yet to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a move that would validate the religious and political significance of the city.

He's the president of the nation that is supposedly Israel's greatest ally, so, yeah...

Jewish-American Friedman, a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, entered the residence with a marching band playing. Trump's controversial new ambassador, David Friedman also presented his credentials to the Israeli president at a ceremony in Jerusalem. Friedman departed from diplomatic protocol upon his arrival on Monday by visiting the wall - a highly unusual move for a new envoy.

The controversial new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, officially starting his term.

McMaster's brief comment appeared to be consistent with long-standing US policy that the status of Jerusalem is an issue to be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The President is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process", Tillerson told NBC's Meet the Press.

It described the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that Congress passed which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and called for the U.S. Embassy to be moved there by May 31, 1999.

H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, declined to say whether the Western Wall was part of Israel.

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