Israel in dispute with US days before Donald Trump's first visit

Embroiled in controversies, Trump seeks boost on foreign trip

Much of the global community doesn't recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and it views East Jerusalem as occupied by Israel.

On the campaign trail, Trump voiced solidly pro-Israel positions.

The controversial new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, officially starting his term. His campaign platform made no mention of an independent Palestinian state.

U.S President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Tuesday afternoon regarding the former's upcoming trip to Israel, according to Haaretz.

A Fox News reporter cited sources saying Netanyahu had asked Trump not to move the embassy now, leading the prime minister to issue an angry rebuttal.

"The capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, because [Israel's] government is in Jerusalem".

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took office on Tuesday and was immediately met with calls for the U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Spicer replied that the wall was "clearly in Jerusalem", but declined to say whether it was a part of Israel.

It seems that the official was prompted to make the statement after members of Netanyahu's team asked if Netanyahu could join Trump on the visit to the Western Wall and whether Israeli photographers could document the event, to which the Americans replied that the Western Wall was a "disputed territory".

McMaster sidestepped questions on Tuesday about whether the Trump administration considers the Western Wall part of Israel.

Israeli media outlet Walla! reported later that the White House tried to distance itself from the comments, saying that it did not reflect the position of the U.S. or of the President.

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

Friedman also told the free daily, the largest circulation paper in Israel, that President Donald Trump has not outlined a specific peace plan.

The official allegedly went on to say: "This is not your territory but rather part of the West Bank."

Israel objected and sought to make it a public visit with Netanyahu escorting him, which U.S. diplomats rejected, with one noting Israel doesn't have sovereignty over the Western Wall.

"I was chosen because I have the trust and confidence of the president, because the president appreciates my commitment to the State of Israel", Friedman told Israel Hayom.

During a trip to Saudi Arabia that begins with his arrival in Riyadh on Saturday, Trump will express support for forming a NATO-like force for the Middle East, backed by Gulf states, the official said.

The wall is one of the holiest sites in Judaism, and it's visited by thousands of Jews from all over the world each day.

Friedman's hardline position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has sparked controversy.



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