WHITE HOUSE DENIES WESTERN WALL COMMENTS IN ADVANCE OF PRES. TRUMP’S TRIP
May 17, 2017
Pray for President Trump as he travels to the Middle East—may he speak with wisdom and grace.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephes. 4:29)
‘The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president,’ a senior administration official told The Times of Israel.
In a bitter diplomatic incident, a senior member of the US delegation making preparations for Trump’s visit to Israel next week angrily rejected a request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall, and then sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall is ‘not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.’
The angry exchanges, according to the report, began when the Israeli team working with the American delegation asked whether Netanyahu could accompany Trump when he visits the Western Wall, a key stop expected on his May 22-23 visit to Israel and the West Bank.
No serving U.S. president has ever visited the Western Wall, because US policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The U.S. team reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join Trump, saying it would be ‘a private visit’ by the president and that he would go on his own. The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film there.
At this point, the TV report said, a senior American official rudely responded: ‘What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.’
These comments led to vociferous protests by the Israelis, with the discussion descending into shouting, and the Israelis reminding the U.S. officials that the Western Wall and adjacent area ‘is territory holy to Israel.’ (Excerpted from Times of Israel, reporting by Eric Cortellessa. To read more about President Trump’s trip and Middle East affairs, visit https://watch.org/.)