Also on Thursday, a White House official told Breitbart News that it does not expect to announce plans to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem, despite Trump’s campaign promise to do so.
A nine-day tour taking in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian territories, the Vatican and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would be a tall order for any president.
Tensions surrounding the USA recognition, or lack thereof, of the Western Wall as Israeli territory became an issue because President Trump, who will be visiting Israel next week, wants to visit the Western Wall privately, without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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.
Many in the global community do not consider any part of Jerusalem to be part of Israel, arguing that the city’s status must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Obama’s last waiver, signed several weeks after Trump was elected on a platform promising to move the embassy immediately, is due to expire June 1.
The worldwide community, including all previous U.S. administrations, has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over any of these areas.
The exercise included practicing the Trump convoy’s drive to the President’s Residence and to the Western Wall.
Yet in an interview with Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu paper, Trump said his plans “could still change” and suggested he might ask Netanyahu to join him, a last-minute move that would please Netanyahu but anger the Palestinians.
“We don’t think it would be wise to do it at this time”, the official said. He will then see Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Reuters details.
US officials had confirmed on May 17 that Trump had relayed highly classified intel on the Islamic State with Russian officials at the White House.
On May 16, a White House official told Reuters that the controversial West Bank comments were not authorized by the USA government, and that they do not reflect both the position of the US and of Trump.
After negotiating that diplomatic minefield, Trump is scheduled to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial.