Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Jordan, Israel in rare row over Jerusalem stabbing, killing

Sandy Vega | 19 May, 2017, 09:16

A source close to the preparations team in Israel told Channel 2 that the statements made by the White House official were received with utter shock by Netanyahu's team.

Six days before US President Donald Trump lands in Israel for his first trip, a severe dispute is transpiring behind the scenes regarding the President's future visit to the Western Wall.

Reports emerged on Monday that Trump officials had told the Israelis that the holy site is "not your territory".

Trump is reportedly planning to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.

Friedman, who has long argued for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and previously called the two-state solution a "scam", presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday. It considers the entire city to be its eternal capital and next week is set to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of what it calls the unification of Jerusalem.

Palestinian and other Arab leaders have warned the Trump administration that moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem would risk stirring popular anger and possible unrest, as the Palestinians view the city's eastern half as their capital and because of the city's significance to Muslims. The Old City is also home to the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "In Israel they're convinced that this statement is opposed to President Trump's policy as it was expressed recently in his behavior and in his firm resistance to the most recent Security Council resolution".

Those cautioning against the embassy move warn that such a decision could trigger uproar in the Palestinian territories and across the Arab world and add another obstacle in the already-complicated path to peace.

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Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967.

Friedman is an orthodox Jew who has raised funds for a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Friedman arrived Monday and immediately visited the Western Wall, praying there and kissing the sacred site. In an apparent coincidence, Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, was visiting at the same time and briefly spoke to Friedman.

The controversy is over the Western Wall, or Kotel.

Israeli right-wingers have pressed Trump to stick to his pledge to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the president has backed away since taking office, saying it was still being looked at.

Netanyahu is reportedly pushing to deliver a joint speech with Trump at Masada, another historical site in Israel, rather than just the introduction he is now slated for.

Bennett said he was not sure why Trump has changed his rhetoric.

Separately, Israeli officials have reacted angrily to reports in local media that representatives of the American consulate had suggested the Western Wall did not belong to Israel.

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