Trump to visit Jewish, Christian holy sites in Jerusalem

Posted May 18, 2017

"It's part of the West Bank".

The dispute began on Monday, just days before a planned visit by US President Donald Trump, with Israel angrily demanding an explanation from the White House over the comments.

Israel's Channel 2 reported this exchange occurred after the Trump team rejected a request for Netanyahu to accompany Trump on his visit to the Western Wall, becoming the first sitting USA president to do so.

Spicer said the Western Wall is in fact in Jerusalem, but would not say it is in Israel.

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

The Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City (right) and the Dome of the Rock above. "It's the closest they have to praying at the Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism". The wall is in Israel!

Israel captured the Old City and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it to the rest of the city - a move the global community does not recognize. The Covenant Journey group will be in Israel during the 50-year anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, celebrated on May 24.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the global community. The former USA administration of Barack Obama was deeply opposed to Israel's expansion of the settlements and in December withheld its veto from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the policy.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

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The spat came on the day the new United States ambassador to Israel, David Friedman - an orthodox Jew - arrived in the country to take up his position. "We wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world - the Western Wall - straight from the airport", Friedman said. The Trump administration quickly disavowed the statement, but stopped short of saying the Western Wall belonged to Israel.

Prior to meeting Netanyahu, Friedman presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

However, all of the pro-Israel priorities Trump has tallied up over the past several months are apparently still on the agenda.

On the campaign trail, Trump voiced solidly pro-Israel positions.

Israel's right-wing had placed high hopes in Trump's presidency following his pledges of ardent support for Israel and a commitment to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Trump campaigned on a pledge to move the USA embassy in support of Israel, but has since backed away from the promise, particularly after Palestine observed that the move would imply a prejudice on the part of the U.S. and hinder Washington's ability to broker peace between the two countries. Yet the status of occupied East Jerusalem looks to be a major subject of talk for the Trump Administration ahead of that visit.

"I am happy to welcome you and your dear wife to Israel, to Jerusalem".

While in the Palestinian territories, Trump "will convey the eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict and he will urge leaders to take steps that will help lead to peace". "Now, some are anxious about what may happen next week".

Netanyahu's office expressed its shocked at the incendiary statement and sought a clarification from Washington.