Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

White House: Western Wall comments 'unauthorized,' do not represent Trump's stance

After the report the Prime Minister's Office took the unusual step of releasing minutes from the Netanyahu-Trump meeting to prove that the Prime Minister supports the USA embassy move.

Netanyahu vehemently denies the report.

He has yet to make any concrete moves toward carrying out that promise.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.

Israel has long pressed nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem; Palestinians, and much of the worldwide community, view east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Trump has already promised Netanyahu that he would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's "eternal" capital.

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

The Prime Minister's Office categorically denied a claim by a Fox News correspondent that Netanyahu had asked Trump not to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967.

In response, a statement from the Prime Minister's office read: "Israel's position has been stated many times to the American administration and to the world".

"We are convinced that this statement is contrary to the policy of President Trump ... Israel has reached out to the United States on this matter".

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According to Channel 2, the same official told members of Netanyahu's team that Trump's visit to the Western Wall was a private visit and also added: "No way, why is this your business?"

Separately, Israelis were riled on Monday by a report on Channel 2 news that a member of the U.S. delegation making preparations for Mr Trump's visit rejected a request that Mr Netanyahu accompany Mr Trump when he visits the Western Wall, the Jewish religious site that lies in Jerusalem's Israeli-occupied eastern half. He spoke on condition of anonymity, saying "we don't want to get into a war of words with them".

It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the global community.

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.

As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson was very enthusiastic about his company's strong relationships with the autocratic monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two countries which also have heavy-handed political interests in the Middle East. Tillerson has met with the Qatari head of state countless times within the past couple of years. The prolonged occupation has been widely condemned, with Israeli settlements considered illegal under the worldwide law.

"This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel... to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people", he told CNN.

"From the meeting in the Oval Office: 'The embassy - the PM supports moving it'".

On Monday, Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, arrived in Israel to take up his new post and traveled straight to the Western Wall to pray.

"His love for and commitment to the state of Israel is rock solid and it enjoys his highest priority".

Jerusalem's Western Wall (Kotel) with the Temple Mount in the background.

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