Disputes Arise between Netanyahu, Trump over Relocation of US Embassy

Jim Comey's Strange Path To Jerusalem

Jim Comey's Strange Path To Jerusalem

A diplomatic spat appeared to erupt between US and Israeli officials over President Trump's visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City just days before he's due in the region.

U.S. President Donald Trump is mulling how moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would affect the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

"The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process", Tillerson told NBC's Meet the Press.

Since taking office, Trump has backed away from his campaign pledge to move the embassy to Jerusalem, saying now that he is still studying the issue.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, a claim that is not recognised internationally, and the Western Wall - the holiest prayer site for Jews - is part of territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all foreign countries to base their embassies there. A Fox News correspondent had claimed the opposite: that the Israeli leader asked the U.S. president not to move the embassy.

In 1980, Israel declared "reunited" Jerusalem its capital in a move unrecognised by major states.

Trump promised to relocate the US embassy as one of his campaign pledges.

In an unusual move, he also released some of the minutes of a meeting he had with Trump in Washington in February, showing that he had pressed the new president to move the embassy. No serving USA president has ever visited the Western Wall, because U.S. policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Two of the Israeli leader's leading political rivals, far-right education minister Naftali Bennett and centre-right opposition politician Yair Lapid, both insisted this week that the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem.

Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would upend US policy in the Middle East.

"This is Prime Minister Netanyahu's consistent and clear stance", his office clarified.

US top officials warned US President Donald Trump not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital on his upcoming visit to the region, for fear that it could ruin the peace process, CNN reported on Tuesday.

At this stage, he will work out of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and will live in the ambassador's residence in Herzliya.

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.

"We are convinced that this remark is in contradiction to the policy of President Trump", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A source within the Palestine Liberation Organization tells Newsweek, under condition of anonymity, that President Trump will meet President Abbas in Bethlehem on May 23.

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