Palestinians hope for settlement curb if peace talks resume

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Mag 19, 2017

Trump would be breaking with strong tradition if he does not attend the shrine and lay a wreath for Holocaust victims but neither the White House, the State Department or the Israeli Embassy in London were unable to confirm with IBTimes UK that he will be paying his respects.

Top officials at the State Department, Department of Defense and the USA intelligence community are urging the White House not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, warning that such a decision would be harmful to the peace process and carry broader regional risks, a senior administration official and several U.S. officials told CNN.

Netanyahu is reportedly pushing to deliver a joint speech with Trump at Masada, another historical site in Israel, rather than just the introduction he is now slated for.

The administration's promise, which has yet to be fulfilled, comes just as President Trump is set to jet off to the Middle East for a week to meet with Arab, Israeli, and European leaders.

Adelson disagrees with the notion the embassy move should be tied to progress in the Mideast peace process, sources informed Axios. "It will advance it by righting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel", the statement added, as reported by Reuters.

The pushback comes as President Donald Trump mulls the possibility of changing United States policy toward Jerusalem and moving the U.S. embassy there.

Mr Abbas quickly reasserted the goal of a Palestinian state as vital to any rejuvenated peace process, reiterating that it must have its capital in Jerusalem with borders based on pre-1967 lines.

The US president vowed during his election campaign to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that would anger Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim worlds.

Fifty years ago next month, Israeli ended Jordan's 19-year occupation of eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank, reuniting a city which was first declared capital of the Jewish nation by the biblical King David some 3,000 years earlier.

The Israeli prime minister released an excerpt of minutes from a February meeting at the White House with Mr Trump that his office said proved he called for the embassy to be moved. "We're convinced that this statement contradicts President Trump's policy, as expressed in his forceful opposition to the recent UN Security Council resolution". The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel has contacted the administration to discuss the matter.

The argument over the Western Wall is not the only complication to come up while planning Trump's trip to Israel.

One U.S. official reportedly told the Israelis the site is "not your territory".

A White House spokesman later told CNN: "These comments were not authorized by the White House". It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Trump has also spoken out, as previous American presidents have, against continued Israeli settlements that are colonising the West Bank.

He has also advocated moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

On Monday, Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, arrived in Israel to take up his new post and traveled straight to the Western Wall to pray.

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