Netanyahu pushes back against claim he asked Trump not to move embassy

Angie Massey
May 20, 2017

The US, like most of the global community, considers Jerusalem disputed ahead of final-status negotiations.

Israel captured east Jerusalem - where Palestinians want to establish the capital of a future independent state - from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it, a move not internationally recognized.

The worldwide community does not recognize Israeli control over eastern Jerusalem, and after Israel's parliament in 1980 declared the city to be Israel's eternal and indivisible capital, the last few countries to have embassies in the city withdrew.

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

In an unusual move, Netanyahu also partially released the minutes of a meeting he had with Trump in Washington in February, showing he had pressed the new president to move the embassy.

Noting Trump's push for Middle East peace - the president meets Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and is reported to be headed to Israel later this month - McMaster called on those present to back the initiative.

Friedman, who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, is expected to live in the United States ambassador's official residence in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herziliya.

Since taking office, Trump has backed away from his campaign pledge to move the embassy in a gesture to Israel, instead saying he's still studying the issue.

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Throughout his campaign, Trump had promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and supported Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory - concepts that are both held in high regard by staunch pro-Israel groups.

"Israel is convinced that this statement contradicts President Trump's policies..."

Channel 2 reports, as noted by the Times of Israel, that a Trump aide then angrily told Israelis that the Western Wall was part of the West Bank, which is governed in part by the State of Palestine.

The Israeli leader argued that keeping the embassy where it is in Tel Aviv is actually a detriment to peace, and empowers the Islamic totalitarians who seek to delegitimize Israel's claims to its land.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office denied the claim on Monday evening, issuing a statement that said: "The things published on Fox News are a lie".

Jewish-American Friedman is a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank. "I prayed for the president, I wished him success especially on his upcoming trip".

The President will travel to Bethlehem at the conclusion of a two-day long trip that will also take in a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem and the city's historic quarter. In 1980, Israel declared "reunited" Jerusalem its capital in a move unrecognized by major states.

Other reports by GizPress

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