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US official to Israel: Western Wall is part of the West Bank

Israeli Jews visit the Western Wall to pray in Jerusalem on October 19, 2016 [Apaimages]
Israeli Jews visit the Western Wall to pray in Jerusalem on October 19, 2016 [Apaimages]

A US official who is making preparations for President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East next week rejected a request that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany Trump when he visits the Western Wall saying it is “not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank”, Israeli TV reported today.

According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu’s office was “shocked” by the comments and has asked the Trump administration about the incident. It added: “Israel is certain that the comment contradicts President Trump’s policy.”

The US delegation reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join the visit, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would go on his own.

Read: US ambassador to Israel believes peace deal is unlikely

The Israelis then asked if a TV crew could accompany him on the visit to which the senior American official responded:

What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.

Trump is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories on 22-23 May. No serving US president has ever visited the Western Wall, because US policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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