Trump nixes plan to move USA embassy to Jerusalem

18 May, 2017, 01:19 | Author: Malcolm Fuller

The call was not listed on the prime minister's schedule or on the White House schedule, but Haaretz reported it was Trump who called Netanyahu after the USA president spoke with Jordan's King Abdullah.

Following a minor diplomatic spat on Monday between Israeli officials and the Trump administration, both Press Secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster declined to specify the administration's policy in regards to the holiest site in Judaism on Tuesday.

Friedman's first stop was the Western Wall, where he said he "prayed for the president".

The Western Wall, the holiest site of Jewish prayer, is located in part of the territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

The issues arose as Trump's controversial new ambassador to Israel David Friedman presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

McMaster said Trump would not be accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the American leader's visit to the Western Wall.

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 one side over the other.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the Trump administration does not want to complicate attempts to nurture a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by announcing the embassy move.

The new USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, visited the Western Wall on Monday, in a departure from diplomatic protocol.

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"The president has not made a decision yet and is still reviewing that", spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

"He's going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world's great religions and to pay homage to each of these religious sites that he's visiting", McMaster said.

"Welcome. It's a pleasure to see you and to welcome you to Jerusalem, our eternal capital".

He also called on Israel not to fear such a scenario, saying, "I don't think any one of us should be concerned about the potential threat of violence".

McMaster was asked twice about the Western Wall's location by reporters, completely dodging the issue.

"We will get it done", Trump said, flaunting what he has described as his deal-making prowess.

If Trump does go to the wall, he will be the first sitting United States president to do so.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city to be its undivided capital.

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