US Official Stirs Controversy Over Claim Wailing Wall is Not Israeli Territory

President Trump's national security advisor dodged questions Tuesday about whether east Jerusalem's Western Wall was in Israeli territory, exposing a potential rift with the Jewish state ahead of the president's planned visit to the holy site.

The Texas senator's statement follows statements from three separate Trump administration officials refusing to say whether the Western Wall in (Israel's capital city of) Jerusalem is part of Israel. This comes amid a report that an administration official told Israeli officials that the Western Wall is in disputed territory.

The Western Wall sits in Old Jerusalem, which the Israelis captured in 1967.

This evening, USA officials reiterated that the embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but warned Israel against pressuring the administration any further about the topic. There have been some signs that the Israeli government, while publicly supportive of moving the embassy, has quietly raised concerns that doing so could enflame the political and security situation.

Speaking of Trump, he said: "His love for and commitment to the state of Israel is rock solid and it enjoys his highest priority".

"We know the Israelis do not want to give on Jerusalem at all and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that".

Friedman, who owns an apartment in Jerusalem, is expected to live in the USA ambassador's official residence in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herziliya.

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The Western Wall, in east Jerusalem's Old City, is the remnant of the ancient temple, destroyed more than 2,000 years ago. "They do not reflect the us position and certainly not the president's position".

The White House on Monday told The Time of Israel the comments by the official were "unauthorised" and did not represent Trump's policy.

Separately, Israeli officials have reacted angrily to reports in local media that representatives of the American consulate had suggested the Western Wall did not belong to Israel.

Friedman, a Jewish-American lawyer, voiced his reservations regarding the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in a sharp deviation from the U.S.' long-held stance.

The diplomatic controversy erupted on the day the new USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, arrived to take up his new post. He presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.

The Trump administration has vowed to do this multiple times but has demurred on the highly controversial move since assuming office. "Trump has made it clear on so many occasions that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, so it would be quite a reversal for him to state differently on this occasion".

In a series of statements, in Israel and in Washington, Trump officials have been evasive or noncommittal about whether the Western Wall is in Israel.

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