White House: Trump staffer's Western Wall comment does not reflect administration policy

Friday, 19 May, 2017

US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

"US President Donald Trump is careful to understand" his campaign pledge to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, says his secretary of state as the president was being cheered by the regime to make the move.

USA presidents of both parties have repeatedly waived a US law requiring the embassy be moved to Jerusalem.

On Monday, in response to a Fox News report that Netanyahu told Trump not to move the embassy right away, the Prime Minister's Office released partial transcripts of Netanyahu's White House meeting as proof that he had urged the President to move the embassy.

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.

"We are committed to doing everything we can, in cooperation with the worldwide community, to neutralise this danger, which we consider as a common threat that we all have an interest in defeating in defence of our shared human values and political security", Safadi said.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital.

Trump promised to relocate the US embassy as one of his campaign pledges.

Reported remarks by a Trump administration official rejecting Israel's claim to the Western Wall were "unauthorized" and do not represent the position of President Donald Trump, the White House said. By then, President Trump will have to decide whether to renew the order or refrain from signing it, which would launch implementation of the law.

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 most recent waiver — signed by former President Barack Obama — expires on June 1.

The United States' official position has been to leave the status of Jerusalem to final-stage talks between the two sides, and only move the embassy after an agreement is reached.

Friedman is an orthodox Jew who has raised funds for a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking through a translator, Abbas echoed Trump's upbeat tone, saying, "We believe that we can ... be true partners to you to bring about a historic peace under your stewardship". Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said on Monday that he is very disappointed with Trump's handling of the issue.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated their demand for a Palestinian state alongside Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital, and "commended Trump's commitment to working for a solution to the conflict", according to Jordan's state news agency Petra.