Haley: 'I Believe the Western Wall Is Part of Israel'


A surprise controversy erupted on Tuesday over USA policy towards Israel days ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump, with the potential move of the American embassy to Jerusalem again making waves.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser is sidestepping questions about Jerusalem's Western Wall amid a spat with Israel related to Trump's plans to visit the site in the Old City next week.

The coverage area of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Texas senator's statement follows statements from three separate Trump administration officials refusing to say whether the Western Wall in (Israel's capital city of) Jerusalem is part of Israel.

Trump is also scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the heritage site at Masada, as well as holding meetings with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu.

The row erupted a few days before the first official visit of US President Donald Trump to the region, Xinhua reported.

In the wake of the turmoil, Trump's visit Israel next week could certainly prove to be a contentious one.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The President will meet with Palestinian President Abbas in Bethlehem and with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel", Sen.

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"They do not reflect the us position, and certainly not the President's position", a White House spokesman said.

According to Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper, Friedman has been president of the American Friends of Beit El Institutions, a group aiming to raise funds for the Beit El settlement's seminary along with other settlement activities.

No Israeli leaders will join President Trump to the Western Wall.

Steven Tyler, the frontman of U.S. rock band Aerosmith, which is set to perform in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, had his own private visit to the Western Wall on Monday and shook hands with Friedman at the ancient site.

Since taking office, Trump has called for restraint in settlement construction and signalled he is no hurry to move the embassy.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer added to the confusion Tuesday, saying, "The Western Wall is one of holiest sites in the Jewish faith, and obviously in Jerusalem", when asked if the site was in Israel.

Israel captured the Old City and the rest of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. "Those are unworkable suggestions that are never going to be agreed upon by the State of Israel".

It will be a hard issue to navigate on both sides, as Trump is eager to play up his pro-Israel bonafides during the visit, and pointing out the occupation doesn't help with that.

The Trump administration has vowed to do this multiple times but has demurred on the highly controversial move since assuming office.