Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Netanyahu Denies Asking Trump Not to Move Embassy


U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson suggested on Sunday that moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv might not impact the Trump's peace-making efforts.

REACTIONS: Abe Foxman, former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), lambasted the White House for its "very serious misunderstandings" on sensitive and important issues to Israel and the Jewish people.

The new US Ambassador, David Friedman, just arrived in Israel and his first visit was to the Western Wall where he said he "prayed for the president".

Days before the USA president starts a Middle East trip that includes meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Tillerson told NBC channel that Trump's decision would depend greatly on how it is seen by governments in the region, including "whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction".

Rivlin called on the "whole world to recognise Jerusalem as the official capital of the state of Israel".

But Trump has since backed away from the embassy move, saying it was still being looked at, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced political backlash at home over the issue.

Mr. Netanyahu's Office issued a statement that said: "The things published on Fox News are false".

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In prepared remarks, Friedman said the Ambassadorship was the greatest honor of his life and promised to "support the state of Israel in every way and in all ways".

The controversy erupted as Israel's right-wing government becomes increasingly nervous about Trump's inexperience and unique personality, his new peace push and his backing away from a campaign pledge to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem. However, the worldwide community does not recognize Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of a future independent state.

Netanyahu's office also published meeting notes from another meeting the prime minister had in January with Trump, just before the United States president's inauguration, asserting that the embassy move would not hinder the peace process.

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. The Israelis then asked for a TV crew to film Trump live, which an American official. reportedly flatly rejected.

One US official said the Western Wall was part of the West Bank, Channel Two reported.

United States presidents of both parties have repeatedly waived a USA law requiring the embassy be moved to Jerusalem.

The United States, like most of the global community, has traditionally considered Jerusalem disputed ahead of final-status negotiations.

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Trump's controversial new ambassador also presented his credentials to the Israeli president at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

He also later met with Netanyahu.

The comment was in response to an Israeli request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to join President Trump when he visits the Western Wall.

The former bankruptcy lawyer has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of U.S. peace efforts.

Jewish-American Friedman is a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking of Trump, he said: "His love for and commitment to the state of Israel is rock solid and it enjoys his highest priority". "The Kotel is 100% part of Israel and holy to Jews around [the] world", Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.

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