Ahead of Trump’s visit to Israel, tensions are on the rise due to several controversies engulfing the trump administration.
During the campaign, Trump received a lot of support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, because Trump signaled he would be more than happy to mend the fences Obama so masterfully tore down.
But recent weeks have created slight unease ahead of the visit, and the world will be watching as the president makes his first trip to America’s staunchest ally.
As reported at Yahoo, the tensions are due to a spat that erupted on Monday between US and Israeli diplomatic officers.
Apparently, an American representative questioned Israel’s claim to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Judaism.
The Israelis were furious at the suggestion and have demanded the White House clarify its stance on the issue.
The flare-up reportedly erupted during preparations for Trump’s visit, during which he has planned a stop at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The White House has yet to respond to the issue.
The Western Wall is revered as the holiest site where Jews can pray. Apparently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for Trump to join him for a trip to the wall.
But reports indicate the American envoy scoffed at the suggestion, with one official commenting that the site is “not your territory.”
Oh, the humanity! The comment caused the Israelis to engage in a shouting match at their American counterparts.
Needless to say, when it comes to territorial issues, the Israelis are hypersensitive. Israel captured the Old City, along with the rest of east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Six Day War. It considers the entire city to be its eternal capital and next week they’ll celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the “unification of Jerusalem.”
But the international community doesn’t recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem because the Palestinians see it as the capital of their future independent state. Furthermore, it’s home to the third holiest site in Islam, the Al Aqsa Mosque.
The fight over East Jerusalem is one of the core issues at play in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. An official close to Netanyahu said the comments were “received with astonishment” and that Israel had asked the White House for an explanation.
“We are convinced that this remark is in contradiction to the policy of President Trump,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It will be interesting to see how the visit goes since Trump has done nothing but signal very pro-Israel views.
The excitement about the visit was overflowing because of the president’s support, but now that’s turned into nervousness and unease. Most likely, Trump will assuage Israel’s fears, and reestablish the relationship Obama left in tatters.