World

Controversy over Trump Israel policy ahead of visit

Controversy over Trump Israel policy ahead of visit

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday the president was still considering the move, but was analyzing the impact it would have on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

A senior member of the USA delegation for President Donald Trump's visit to Israel next week reportedly angered Israeli officials when he said the Western Wall was "part of the West Bank". "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. Israel has held West Jerusalem since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, but the United Nations unanimously opposed its annexation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Third Arab-Israeli War and its control of that portion of the city is almost universally regarded as illegal by the worldwide community. As a presidential candidate, he had threatened to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem, but nothing has materialised as of now.

Israeli right-wingers have pressed Trump to stick to his pledge to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the president has backed away since taking office, saying it was still being looked at. He has yet to make any concrete moves toward carrying out that promise.

"Israel's position has been stated many times to the American government and to the world", he said.

It is not clear who, exactly, the "senior American official" was, but Israel's Ha'aretz identified the culpable parties as "diplomats stationed at the USA consulate in Jerusalem".

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman kneels in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City, Monday, May 15, 2017.




Earlier Monday, a correspondent from Fox News tweeted that Netanyahu told Trump not to move the embassy at this time. "It's a mistake. This harms President Trump's credibility and if the Arabs don't respect his credibility, it is more likely that they would be making impossible demands".

"Modi will try to understand Palestinian views about his Israel visit and Abbas may use the opportunity to ask India to encourage Israel to revive the peace process", Aftab Kamal Pasha, a professor of West Asian studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Bernama.

While announcing Abbas's visit, India reiterated its support for the Palestinian cause.

"Playing with the Jerusalem issue complicates not just the putative peace process, but everyone's politics", Miller explained. The analysis in Ramallah is that the Trump administration has chose to explore the possibility of starting a peace process in the months to come. First of all, people are really involved in what's going on in the Middle East and understand that the gaps between the Israelis and Palestinians are much too big.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. "Both Israel and the Arab leaders will want to give him something so he can go home and say it was a success. You can not start with a clean state", Tillerson said "We're starting with the slate we have, and all the problems we have are in that slate".


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