Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The Western Wall is 'Not Israeli Territory', says US Official

US President Donald Trump escorts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his car following meetings in the West Wing of the White House The Western Wall is 'Not Israeli Territory', says US Official
Orlando Vargas | 17 May, 2017, 13:02

The Western Wall, in east Jerusalem's Old City, is the remnant of the ancient temple, destroyed more than 2,000 years ago.

And, by chance, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

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.

As Friedman prepares to take up his post Tuesday as US ambassador to Israel on the eve of President Donald Trump's visit to the region, residents of Beit El are hoping that he can help soften the USA policy against Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"The Western Wall is one of holiest sites in the Jewish faith, and clearly in Jerusalem", Spicer said, adding that the situation is complicated.

The status of sovereignty over the wall became a political issue between the United States and Israel earlier this week, casting a cloud over the highly anticipated visit by the new president. The Americans refused, saying it was to be a "private visit". "It's not in your territory - it's part of the West Bank".

The unnamed official also reported called for Israeli MPs to stop pressing for an immediate move of the US Embassy, saying such moves damage the chances of it happening.

However, since the Palestinian Authority would like to make East Jerusalem the capital of an eventual state, picking Jerusalem as an embassy site would show clear favour to Israel. But while most of the world believes Israel to be illegally occupying the West Bank, the questions of both East and West Jerusalem were murkier, because the world continued to believe that the city should be global and wasn't rightfully Israeli, Jordanian or Palestinian.

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Friedman, who visited the Western Wall after his arrival on Monday, said Trump had given him "the unequivocal and unambiguous mandate to support the state of Israel in every way and in all ways".

A final meeting is expected to be held Tuesday with the White House advance team, in which the timetable for the visit will be finalized.

"As you know, the [US] president [Donald Trump] has chosen Israel as the site for his first worldwide visit". He's also due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

So, how does Steven Tyler fit in?

The leaders closed the letter by requesting of the president to send a message early in his term that the "U.S. will honor its strongest and only true democratic ally in the Middle East by respecting their capital city-Jerusalem-and immediately moving the US Embassy there".

The long-haired rocker and the gray-haired diplomat shook hands at the ancient site and made for a curious photo op.

Also on Tuesday, Trump's controversial choice for ambassador David Friedman presented his credentials in a ceremony at President Reuven Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem.

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