New US ambassador to Israel presents credentials

Friedman also mentioned Trump's upcoming visit to Israel, observing that the president had chosen Israel one of the stops on his first global trip as a demonstration that "His love for and commitment to the State of Israel is rock-solid and enjoys his highest priority".

H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, declined to say whether the Western Wall was part of Israel.

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is in "disputed territory", Berns reportedly said.

Israeli officials reacted angrily to recent reports in local media that representatives of the USA consulate had suggested the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem did not belong to Israel.

The row erupted a few days before the first official visit of US President Donald Trump to the region, Xinhua reported.

Now Team Trump is catching hell from conservative friends of Israel.

Jewish-American Friedman, a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, entered the president's residence as a police marching band played the USA national anthem.

Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 occupation, and neither the U.S. nor much of anyone recognizes that as legitimate.

"They do not reflect the USA position, and certainly not the president's position", the spokesperson said.

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"Israel is convinced that this statement contradicts President Trump's policies".

The diplomatic controversy erupted on the day the new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, arrived to take up his new post.

The Trump administration also widened the daylight between itself and the hard-right Israeli government while pivoting on the key issue of ownership of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jewish groups in the.S. voiced concern about Mr. Trump's commitment to Israel.

After his arrival in Tel Aviv on Monday, Friedman visited the Western Wall in occupied East Jerusalem, praying there and kissing the sacred site.

The letter was signed by the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) an informal network of Christian leaders, managed by the US Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, representing some 60 million Christians across America.

Friedman's first stop was the Western Wall, where he said he "prayed for the president".

In an exclusive interview with The Brody File, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley made forcefully clear that the Western Wall in Jerusalem belongs to Israel.

Since taking office, Trump has called for restraint in settlement construction and signalled he is no hurry to move the embassy.

However, pressed on whether the Trump administration saw the Western Wall as being in Israel, McMaster demurred, saying it was a "policy decision". He was going to be all-Israel all the time. "We'll move the embassy, just give us time", the official was quoted as saying.

  • Rita Burton