New US Ambassador Friedman arrives, stirring hope in Israeli settlement

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A surprise controversy erupted on Tuesday over United States policy towards Israel days ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump, with the potential move of the American embassy to Jerusalem again making waves.

H.R. McMaster, in a press briefing Tuesday previewing Trump's first foreign trip, declined to elaborate on the location of Judaism's holiest site after reports that a USA official told Israeli counterparts the wall was located in the West Bank.

One US official said the Western Wall was part of the West Bank, Channel Two reported.

"We wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world", Friedman said in a video taken by the USA embassy, adding he had prayed for Trump.

Mr. Trump will also visit Saudi Arabia, the Vatican, and Sicily for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation G7 meetings as part of his overseas trip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu challenged US concerns over moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, in what Haaretz newspaper called his "first public dispute" with the Trump administration. But the worldwide community never recognized either state's claim to any part of Jerusalem, instead saying that the entirety of the holy city should still be internationalized.


The question was raised after a USA consular official reportedly told an Israeli official that the wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, "is not your territory, it's part of the West Bank".

According to the statement, the two leaders stressed the importance of cooperation between their countries, discussed efforts to bring Syria's civil war to a conclusion and said that there is an immediate need to put an end to the violence and solve the crisis in the country. "This is nTterritory, but rather part of the West Bank".

The Western Wall - also known as the Wailing Wall - was occupied along with rest of east Jerusalem in the 1967 war in a move not recognised by the global community.

Earlier this month, he held a warm meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House.

"The Western Wall is part of Israel", Cruz tells Conservative Review, "and Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel".

In 1980, Israel declared "reunited" Jerusalem its capital in a move unrecognized by major states.


A White House spokesperson told Israeli media the comments "do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president".

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

The site resides in annexed East Jerusalem, which Israel seized from Jordan in 1967.

"The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process", Tillerson said in an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press".

He has also advocated moving the embassy to Jerusalem.


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