US Officials Say Western Wall Not In Israel
By Micah Halpern
Tuesday May 16, 2017
I've Been Thinking:
There are reports of tensions being high - even explosive, between Israel and the Trump team, all revolving around the upcoming Trump trip to Israel. There are many issues to be resolved. Included among them are protocols and what is required of every visiting head of state.
Most troubling of all is that during a preparation meeting for the US President's trip to Jerusalem, the Israelis were unceremoniously told to leave during the Trump team's field trip to the Western Wall.
According to the reports the team from the US embassy told the Israelis that they must leave the Western Wall area which, they explained, is not in Israel - it's the West Bank.
The two American embassy diplomats said "We're asking you to leave, and we need to be left alone. Israeli officials cannot be here; this is not your territory, it's the West Bank. This is a private visit by the President and has nothing to do with you. It's none of your business."
To make it clear this was all about planning President Trump's trip to the Wall. Which these US officials say is not "Israeli territory."
And that's not all.
The US team gave Israel an ultimatum - either Trump visits the Holocaust Memorial called Yad Vashem or he has a visit with President Rivlin at the presidential residence. In the end Trump will do both, but it looks like the visit to Yad Vashem will be just 15 minutes long.
There is also a dispute over Masada. Netanyahu wants to speak on the mountain top for seven minutes and make the visit to Masada the center piece of the Trump visit. That was not part of the original Trump plan.
In the end, it will all be resolved. Even planning a trip requires diplomacy.
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