Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Intel spat adds to Israeli concerns about Trump visit

Intel spat adds to Israeli concerns about Trump visit

The issue comes as Trump is expected to visit Israel in less than a week, The Jerusalem Post reports.

However Israeli officials offered Trump an alternative to land at the bottom of the site and go up on cable cars as former President George Bush did upon his visit, but the offer was turned down.

McMaster's comments came a day after American and Israeli officials, who were planning Trump's visit, got into a spat regarding the location of the holy site, with a U.S. official-later identified as David Berns, political counselor at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem-allegedly telling the Israelis the Western Wall "is not in your territory".

Despite the Israeli protests, Trump's national security adviser would not back down.

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A US official said the information, about an IS threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft, came from Israel and there were concerns that a valuable Israeli asset could be in danger. The wall is in the Old City, a part of east Jerusalem, which the US and most of the world consider to be occupied territory.

"These comments were not authorized by the White House".

Israel captured the Old City and the rest of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the area, in a move that most of the world community does not recognize. "Trump has made it clear on so many occasions that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, so it would be quite a reversal for him to state differently on this occasion".

The letter, organized by the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), overseen by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's USA branch, cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which acknowledges Jerusalem as "the seat of Israel's President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions". A senior partner, leader of the Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, has been vocal against a Palestinian state.

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This new development happened days ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump on an ultra-sensitive status of Jerusalem. "This is his first goal".

After meeting Netanyahu in the White House, Trump moderated his opinion.

For Israel's right wing, who thought the new American administration would at the very least turn a blind eye to settlement expansion, the request was the equivalent to a slap in the face.

Netanyahu will be wary to upset his ally during his visit.

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"Serving the U.S as its ambassador to the state of Israel is the greatest honor of my life, and I pledge to you to do all that I can to strengthen and enhance the relations between our two great nations - that you accurately described as unbreakable and, I would add, without limits", Friedman said.

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