Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Netanyahu's office denies rumors the prime minister opposes moving US Embassy


Netanyahu's office sent reporters a fact sheet of quotes on the prime minister's hope for a USA embassy in Jerusalem and had this to say about Powell: "The claims posted by a Fox News correspondent are false".

In an unprecedented move on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published meeting notes from his visit with Trump at the White House in February, in order to affirm that he tried to convince Trump to relocate the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On Monday, the Americans toured the Western Wall.

Top officials at the State Department, Department of Defense and the USA intelligence community are urging the White House not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, warning that such a decision would be harmful to the peace process and carry broader regional risks, a senior administration official and several U.S. officials told CNN.

Israel angrily demanded an explanation from the White House, casting a cloud over the highly anticipated visit by the new president, which is being greeted with a mixture of excitement and nervousness by Israeli officials.

Besides his one-day stay in Israel, President Trump will also visit Saudi Arabia for his first overseas visit since his inauguration in January.

Earlier this month, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. said on Facebook that the president would meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in "Palestine". "Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process", Netanyahu said.

"It makes many of us - who are hoping for a change in U.S. -Israel relations - nervous", Foxman, the current Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, told Jewish Insider "I can not believe that the traditionally pro-Palestinian functionaries in the American Consulate in Jerusalem are making the decisions on the Kotel and Jerusalem". The report said the comment prompted shouting from the Israeli delegation helping with preparations for Trump's visit.

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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. Israel claims the entire city as its undivided capital. "It will make them understand that Israel will remain forever and that its capital will be Jerusalem". 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".

On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised eyebrows when he spoke of "a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine". In 1980, Israel declared "reunited" Jerusalem its capital in a move unrecognized by major states. His campaign platform made no mention of an independent Palestinian state.

Trump promised during his presidential campaign to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital and remarked on the pledge in an interview the day before his inauguration, saying: "You know, I'm not a person who breaks promises".

The official allegedly went on to say: "This is not your territory but rather part of the West Bank". 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. "I wished him success, especially on his upcoming trip". But generally, it is hard to overstate the degree to which the career bureaucracy disapproves of moving the US embassy - and not just in the State Department. Trump's planned visit to the Wall has been defined as private, and he will not be accompanied by any Israeli government representatives.

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