Top House Republican criticizes McMaster's remarks on Western Wall location

Posted May 18, 2017

President Donald Trump speaks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2017.

H.R. McMaster said Trump will say a prayer next week at the Western Wall, which is revered as the holiest site where Jews can pray.

Israel recaptured east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount in the Old City, in the 1967 war.

Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump's United Nations ambassador, waded into a diplomatic minefield on Wednesday by asserting that the Western Wall is part of Israel, a deviation from US policy.

Separately, Israeli officials reacted angrily to reports in local media that representatives of the USA consulate had suggested the Western Wall in east Jerusalem did not belong to Israel.

Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 occupation, and neither the USA nor much of anyone recognizes that as legitimate.

In a matter of days Trump is expected in Israel for an official visit.

In another segment of the interview released before airing, Haley reiterated her support for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

"That sounds like a policy decision", he said during a daily briefing.

Friedman arrived Monday and immediately visited the Western Wall, praying there and kissing the sacred site. At the same time, Israel will be celebrating the anniversary of that occupation's start during Trump's visit, while trying to maintain the myth of an "eternal, undivided city" that isn't under occupation at all.

Since Israel's founding, the US has maintained that "no state has sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem" and that it's a "final status" issue that must be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation, the official said.

According to the senior source in the prime minister's office, Tuesday's call focused exclusively on the upcoming visit, which is particularly surprising given the timing.

Israeli soldiers during a service marking Memorial Day at the Western Wall on April 30.

The official said Trump still feels the accord is a bad deal for the American economy.

The rival claims to east Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It remains the single most contentious point of division between Israel and Palestine, with Israel insisting on singular ownership.

"We are convinced that this statement is contrary to President Trump's policy ..." "We discussed the friendship between the two countries and I told him that the U.S. Embassy -- like all embassies -- should be moved to Jerusalem".