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Spicer confirms Western Wall 'clearly in Jerusalem'

Spicer confirms Western Wall 'clearly in Jerusalem'

A dispute erupted on Tuesday between Israel and the U.S. 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.

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.

During his first foreign trip, which starts on Friday, President Trump will visit the Western Wall without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli officials were told by the White House that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not join Trump because the wall is not a recognized Israeli territory.

Netanyahu, in preparation for Trump's first foray beyond the borders of the country that elected him president, is known to be hoping to gain support for the U.S. embassy move, as it would be interpreted as validating Israel's 1967 annexation of the eastern section of Jerusalem, and a slap in the face to Palestine's original claims on the region. A lawyer by trade and an orthodox Jew, he's previously raised funds for a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank captured by Israel 50 years ago.

Tuesday, Israel's Channel 2 identified the individual allegedly involved in the confrontation as David Berns, the political counselor at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

He added that he looks forward to working with the people of Israel to do "even more to bring together the United States and Israel in every field, from culture to education, life sciences, high technology, commerce, trade, and of course military and strategic cooperation and so many other things".

Friedman arrived Monday and immediately visited the Western Wall, praying there and kissing the sacred site. He said the topic would be discussed between Trump and his counterparts during next week's trip.

Asked about the incident, an Israeli official told Channel 2 "It's a Trump show".

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"Trump is not going to let it stand that the Kotel (Western Wall) is going to be under the sovereignty of another nation, or that it'll be 'internationalized, ' as the Vatican would like", Hier said.

A Jewish-American bankruptcy lawyer, Friedman has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - the basis of years of USA diplomatic efforts.

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

The rival claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no countries now have their embassies there, instead basing them in Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.

The Trump administration has vowed to do this multiple times but has demurred on the highly controversial move since assuming office.

During an off-camera briefing in the afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Western Wall is in fact in Jerusalem, but would not say it is in Israel.

"Israel's position has been stated many times to the American government and to the world", he said.

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