Reports surfaced Tuesday that officials at the State Department have warned President Trump to not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel to avoid harming the peace process as well as “broader regional risks”.
The reports come after members of President Trump’s delegation preparing for his visit to Israel on May 22 reportedly told members of Israeli prep team while visiting the Western Wall (Kotel) to leave as “Israelis cannot be here” and that “this isn’t territory- it’s the West Bank.”
The White House responded, stating, “These comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House. They do not reflect the U.S. position, and certainly not the President’s position.” Shortly after, the United States confirmed that President Trump would visit the Western Wall during his tour to Israel, however, not accompanied by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The media has also been centered on whether President Trump will address moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the president vocally committed to the move since his campaign.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley was asked about the incident, stating that she “wasn’t sure what happened” but that the United States has always recognized the Western Wall as part of Israel. She stated, “I’m not really sure what happened with that issue but I know that they’re trying to fix that and get that taken care of but you know we’ve always thought that the Western Wall is part of Israel.”
She also addressed the embassy move, stating, “I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is.”
During a meeting with members of the Likud party Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the embassy move amidst reports ahead of the president’s visit as well as ongoing efforts, particularly at the United Nations, to delegitimize Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.
On his Israel’s diplomatic efforts abroad, particularly in the past year, he stated, “My consistent and unequivocal position is that the U.S. Embassy should move to Jerusalem, and this is what the other embassies should do as well. I presented my position in my meetings with leaders of the U.S. and the world, with the State of Israel’s entire diplomatic corps and just recently at the Likud office.
On the peace process in relation to moving the embassy, Netanyahu stated “Not only will moving the embassy not harm the peace process, but the opposite is true: It will encourage it, because it will correct a historical injustice and shatter the Palestinian illusion that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. This is my position, it’s clear to everyone, it didn’t change and it will not, either.
On Trump’s visit to Israel “We are facing a historical visit by the U.S. president to Israel. This is a very important visit for the security of Israel, for our international standing. We will lead this important effort out of deep friendship to the U.S. and the president, and out of experience, determination and standing firm on the interests crucial to the State of Israel.”
On Tuesday, reports were released that Israel provided the intelligence President Trump that shared with Russia.
President Trump has been under heavy scrutiny by the media after sharing intelligence information on a “major Islamic plot” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week. According to reports, Trump shared intelligence on an ISIS plot to down a passenger jet to the United States through an explosive on a laptop.
In a briefing yesterday, General H.R. McMasters pointed out that the information shared was factual and “appropriate to share what the threat was as a basis for common action and coordination.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, May 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.