U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley raised eyebrows this week when she declared that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is part of Israel and renewed the call made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign past year that the United States should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Leading up to Trump's scheduled visit to Israel, officials there reportedly got into a yelling match with a senior member of the USA delegation for the trip who had told them that the Western Wall "is not your territory, it's part of the West Bank".
"We were not elected to keep chairs warm", Shaked was quoted as saying, "but rather to implement clear policy, ensure that no Palestinian state is established, and ensure that the [U.S.] embassy is moved [to Jerusalem]".
Two Florida Republicans in Congress made the case that Jerusalem is part of Israel this week. When the Israeli government asked to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany Trump to the Wall, they were shot down and reportedly told that as far as the Americans were concerned, the holy site was part of the West Bank.
Can he expect the Israelis to return to the Palestinians West Bank land that now includes Israeli settlements?
Trump hosted Abbas at the White House on May 3, pledging to help end the decades-old conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump will be visiting Israel on May 22 to 23, just after his stop in Saudi Arabia and his trip to the Vatican.
Israel appears to be publicly very diplomatic about the whole thing, with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, telling the New York Times that "Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump". "Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish people and of the modern state of Israel". The Western Wall is part of the Palestinian territory.
The holy site has been at the center of a diplomatic spat between the USA and Israel over the past week after an American diplomat told Israeli officials that the Western Wall was not part of Israel and not Israel's responsibility.
"We have a schedule, we have a plan and everything is going ahead, absolutely", says Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, speaking over the phone from Israel. This information was shared with US authorities under the strict understanding that it would not be given to other agents - let alone with Russian Federation, an ally of Israel's greatest adversary Iran.
ICEJ National Director Susan Michael wrote, "Looking back over the past 24 years of unsuccessful efforts by three previous presidents to broker a final peace agreement, it is not a good idea to continue hinging this long-overdue decision on reaching such a deal". "Many of our constituents cast their vote for you due to this commitment, '" the letter said. To the rapturous applause of the Jewish audience, Trump denounced the current administration's policy of distancing America from Israel and putting daylight between the two. Israel views Jerusalem as its undivided capital and such a move would be a show of support for the right-wing Israeli government's claim to the city.