Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Netanyahu: Moving US Embassy Would Help Advance Peace by Shattering Palestinians' Fantasy

Trump's visit to Israel will take place close to the deadline for him to decide whether to sign a waiver preventing the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Following his trip to the Middle East, Trump will arrive in the Vatican to meet Pope Francis for talks on cooperation regarding "religious communities in areas of joint concern", the White House said in a statement earlier this month.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. The U.S. official then reportedly said, "It is not your territory, it's part of the West Bank". It said the comment prompted shouting from the Israeli preparatory team.

It later annexed East Jerusalem, and in 1980, Israel unilaterally declared "reunited" Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel has long pressed nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem; Palestinians, and much of the worldwide community, view east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Old City is also home to the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The statement from Mr. Netanyahu's office concluded: "This is the clear and consistent position of Prime Minister Netanyahu, which he reiterated today". "They do not reflect the U.S. position, and certainly not the President's position". In recent weeks, press reports in Israel indicated that the Trump administration was not planning to move the embassy.

Speaking of Trump, he said: "His love for and commitment to the state of Israel is rock solid and it enjoys his highest priority". His campaign platform made no mention of an independent Palestinian state.

Trump promised during his presidential campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital and remarked on the pledge in an interview the day before his inauguration, saying: "You know, I'm not a person who breaks promises". Israel has built settlements on war-won lands, now home to 600,000 Israelis.

The new United States ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, departed from diplomatic protocol by visiting the Western Wall on Monday. Aerosmith is set to perform in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. For thousands of years, Jewish people from around the world have come to pray at the wall.

Since taking office, Trump has backed away from his campaign pledge to move the embassy in a gesture to Israel, instead saying he's still studying the issue.

The President will travel to Bethlehem at the conclusion of a two-day long trip that will also take in a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem and the city's historic quarter.

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