Israeli officials are demanding that the White House offer an official explanation for the comments of a US diplomat who was in Jerusalem and pointed out that the Western Wall is in territory occupied by Israel in 1967. Trump intends to visit the wall, and the envoy insisted the visit would be private, saying Israel doesn’t have jurisdiction to demand that he go with Netanyahu.
Israel did occupy the territory in question militarily in 1967, but has since annexed it. The United States does not recognize that annexation, nor really does anybody else, though Israeli officials are keen to draw distinctions between the Old City, where the Western Wall is, East Jerusalem, and the rest of the occupied West Bank, even though from a legal perspective the distinctions are largely arbitrary.
Israel’s far-right government likes to get outraged about people stating the obvious, and to demand apologies. The Trump Administration appears to be trying to placate them, as always, insisting that the Western Wall having been captured in 1967 is “not the position of this administration,,” despite being true, and that the unnamed diplomat in question was never authorized to point that fact out.
Trump is visiting Israel next week, during which Israel will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of having “reunified” Jerusalem through military conquest, a fact which they are simultaneously planning to celebrate and apparently react angrily if anyone mentions.
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