Netanyahu Welcomes US Ambassador Friedman to Jerusalem "Our Eternal Capital"

White House reels from another Russia crisis

A dispute erupted on Tuesday between Israel and the United States over comments by USA officials describing the in east Jerusalem's Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, as part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel's Channel 2 reported this exchange occurred after the Trump team rejected a request for Netanyahu to accompany Trump on his visit to the Western Wall, becoming the first sitting USA president to do so.

Trump will be visiting the wall in his upcoming trip to Israel but does not intend to be accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City (right) and the Dome of the Rock above.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city to be its undivided capital. The Republican president will meet with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

"The capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, because [Israel's] government is in Jerusalem". But Trump has said Jewish settlements "don't help the [peace] process".

He continued, "Serving the USA as its Ambassador to the State of Israel, is the greatest honor of my life, and I pledge to you to do all that I can to strengthen and enhance the relations between our two great nations - that you accurately described as unbreakable and, I would add, without limits".

After his arrival in Tel Aviv, Friedman visited the Western Wall, praying there and kissing the sacred site.

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The White House distanced itself from the alleged comments, saying in statements to U.S. media that they did not reflect the views of the administration.

Jerusalem's ancient Western Wall made headlines again on Tuesday.

Prior to meeting Netanyahu, Friedman presented his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

According to Channel 2, the same official told members of Netanyahu's team that Trump's visit to the Western Wall was a private visit and also added: "No way, why is this your business?"

The new USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, visited the Western Wall on Monday, in a departure from diplomatic protocol.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all foreign countries to base their embassies there.

The former bankruptcy lawyer has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of U.S. peace efforts.

"I know that they are trying to fix that and get that taken care of, we have always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel", Haley said. "Those are unworkable suggestions that are never going to be agreed upon by the State of Israel".

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