Embassy decision coming 'after Trump visit,' USA official says


Tensions surrounding the U.S. recognition, or lack thereof, of the Western Wall as Israeli territory became an issue because President Trump, who will be visiting Israel next week, wants to visit the Western Wall privately, without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Jerusalem Post notes that Trump will need to work to convince Israelis that he is on their side during his visit to the Holy Land next week. But that doesn't mean other diplomatic traps aren't lying in wait. The next deadline for such a waiver is June 1.

During a Jerusalem Unity Day event at the Capitol on Wednesday, DeSantis said, "I'm not necessarily predicting that that's going to happen, but I think if you're ever going to do it, with all the celebrations that are going to be going on next week, just think of how much energy this would ad to that; not only in Israel, but here in the United States, for the millions and millions of Americans who would like to see this happen".

Many in the global community do not consider any part of Jerusalem to be part of Israel, arguing that the city's status must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

When Friedman arrived in Israel this week, his first act was to visit Jerusalem's Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, a symbolic departure from usual protocol. Trump told an Israeli newspaper this week that having Netanyahu join him at the wall was still a possibility. USA diplomats defended this because the Western Wall is in the occupied Old City. But putting the embassy west of the Green Line, in an area of Jerusalem that Israel has controlled since 1948 and that only the history-denying U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and opponents of Israel's existence refuse to acknowledge as part of Israel, would not eliminate the possibility of a Palestinian government presence in Jerusalem. Instead, the president will be accompanied by the rabbi of the Western Wall.

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"There's no planned announcement for the embassy on the trip", the White House official said.

An official in Netanyahu's office said the USA comment was "received with astonishment" and that Israel had asked the White House for an explanation. President Trump will meet the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem and will urge Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace.

To get there, the president's convoy will have to pass through Israel's high-security checkpoint and towering concrete barriers that cut the West Bank off from Jerusalem.

Hier took the former president to task, saying, "Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter is the wrong person giving President Trump advice on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". "He will reiterate that", the official continued, adding that "(Trump) has not abandoned the two-state solution".

The decision by President Trump to share sensitive intelligence with the Russians that was provided by Israel has created another flap for the administration. He has set aside 15 minutes for the visit, unlike previous presidents who spent an hour or more at the site.