February 24, 2018

Trump faces diplomatic hurdles during 28 hours in the Holy Land

20 May 2017, 11:59 | Darin Griffith

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley raised eyebrows this week when she declared that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is part of Israel and renewed the call made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign a year ago that the United States should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "I think President Trump will come here and get a feel of what united Jerusalem is really like and I am convinced that he will see that the city belongs to the State of Israel and that our demand is legitimate and important".

President Donald Trump has decided he will not announce plans to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem during his trip to Israel next week, two administration officials told CNN Wednesday.

The official added the president also does not expect to convene a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this trip, but that he hopes to after another round of solo meetings with each leader. Next week he will be the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall in the Old City, but his team rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accompany him.

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MARTIN: What has been the reaction inside and outside of the Netanyahu government when it comes to these allegations about what President Trump may have shared with Russian officials, intelligence that reportedly came from Israel?

Amnon Sofrin, former head of Mossad's intelligence directorate, said the issue was unlikely to be touched on when Trump visits Israel on his first foreign trip next week.

Since taking office in January, Trump has shown signs of shelving his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, while vowing to do what is necessary to clinch a Middle East peace agreement.

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So long as the Palestinians are allowed to get away with delegitimizing Jewish rights even at the Western Wall, they won't make peace. While Israel thinks of Jerusalem as its capital, the worldwide community does not honor this claim.

The senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump remains committed to his campaign pledge to ultimately relocate the USA embassy but does not plan to announce such a move while on his trip.

Right now, USA policy on Israel is unchanged from that of past administrations.

That's a big shift, as the Palestinians have previously said talking while the settlements grow meant they are negotiating over an ever-shrinking amount of territory Israel hasn't already taken, and that Israel has the incentive to slow the process while they take more. Fink says many Israelis are anxious that the American president will offer a take-it-or-leave-it deal to the Palestinians and Israelis, minus any nuance. Initially, Trump wanted to fashion a new USA policy in the Middle East.

Trump delighted Netanyahu in September by telling him during a lengthy meeting that if he won the presidential election, the USA would "recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel". It's clearly in Jerusalem...but there's been - it's an issue that's had serious consideration.

In this photo taken April 24, 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks to the media in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. To the rapturous applause of the Jewish audience, Trump denounced the current administration's policy of distancing America from Israel and putting daylight between the two.

RONEN BERGMAN: Well, I don't know what was said or not said during that conversation.

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