Israel in dispute with U.S. days before Trump's first visit

President Trump's national security advisor dodged questions Tuesday about whether east Jerusalem's Western Wall was in Israeli territory, exposing a potential rift with the Jewish state ahead of the president's planned visit to the holy site.

We therefore ask President Donald Trump to explicitly affirm that the Western Wall was - and is now - by the grace of G-d under Israel's sovereignty.

The Western Wall, the holiest site of Jewish prayer, is located in part of the territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

Throughout his bombastic campaign, Trump made sweeping statements in support of Israel, including talk of moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The following morning, the President will meet President [Mahmoud] Abbas in Bethlehem where he will convey his administration's eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict, and he will urge Palestinian leaders to take steps that will lead to peace.

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

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all foreign countries to base their embassies there.

Haley's comments came in the wake of a diplomatic spat between Israeli and American officials, who are planning Trump's May 22-23 visit to Israel. His inner core of top advisors was populated with enthusiastic proponents of expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and, in a highly-contested move, the president appointed a very partisan David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.

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"I don't know what the policy of the administration is, but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel, and I think that that's how we've always seen it and that's how we should pursue it", Haley said.

McMaster's brief comment appeared to be consistent with long-standing US policy that the status of Jerusalem is an issue to be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

After his arrival in Tel Aviv on Monday, Friedman visited the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem, praying there and kissing the sacred site.

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

The rival claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no countries now have their embassies there, instead basing them in Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Trump's trip - and it's timing - led to intense speculation as to whether he would use the opportunity to fulfill his repeated campaign pledge to relocate the embassy. Despite the Kotel's significance in Judaism and Israel's control over a united Jerusalem, the worldwide community-including the USA -does not officially recognize the Western Wall as part of Israel.

If Trump does go to the wall, he will be the first sitting United States president to do so. Trump, however, has vowed to break with that policy by moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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