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Trump to visit Jewish, Christian holy sites in Jerusalem

18 May 2017

A diplomatic blowup over the status of Jerusalem, followed by revelations Trump had shared highly classified Israeli intelligence with Russian Federation, has reinforced the president's image as dangerously unpredictable.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that the Western Wall is part of Israel, something other Trump administration officials would not unequivocally state the same day.

Trump is reportedly planning to visit the wall in Jerusalem's Old City and Israel's Channel Two reported that Israeli officials offering to help plan the event were told by American counterparts it was not their remit. 'It's an issue that's had serious consideration.

If Trump does go to the wall, he will be the first sitting USA president to do so. We had a wide ranging discussion about Russia, Israel, North Korea, Christian Persecution and much more.

"This isn't your territory".

The administration entangled itself this week in a dispute over the religious site's location after a US official said it was in the West Bank. "It is a private visit by the president, and it's not your business".

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Netanyahu's office expressed shock, said an official speaking anonymously because he was not authorised to discuss the matter.

Rivlin said that Israel was looking forward to welcoming President Trump in less than a week.

The White House distanced itself from the alleged comments, saying in statements to U.S. media that they did not reflect the views of the administration.

I've been to the Western Wall and on the Temple Mount directly above it.

On Monday shortly after arriving in Israel, Friedman visited the Kotel, where he said in a short video clip posted on Facebook that "I prayed for, of course, the health of my family, my children, my grandchildren". He's also due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

The diplomatic controversy erupted on the day the new USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, arrived to take up his new post. In an apparent coincidence, Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, was visiting at the same time and briefly spoke to Friedman.

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Senior officials in the US State Department, Department of Defence and US intelligence services have urged the White House not to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, CNN reported, as plans to move the US embassy to the disputed city continue to gain momentum.

Friedman, who owns a home in Jerusalem, is a known strong supporter of the Israeli West Bank settlements, a territory which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and has occupied ever since.

Israeli officials appear to be increasingly concerned over Trump visit, during which he is expected to attempt to revive the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

For Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, whose group opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, the controversy is just the latest disappointment from the Trump administration.

A row erupted Tuesday over U.S. policy toward Israel days ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump, with fresh questions raised over the White House's approach to the ultra-sensitive status of Jerusalem. McMaster did however confirm that no Israeli leaders would accompany Trump on his visit to the site.

Yet today when it was brought up by the media, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was very evasive, refusing to elaborate beyond saying that the Western Wall is "clearly in Jerusalem".

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After his arrival in Tel Aviv, Friedman visited the Western Wall, praying there and kissing the sacred site.