Trump to visit Jewish, Christian holy sites in Jerusalem
President Donald Trump will visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest prayer site, amid controversy in Israel over reported comments by a US diplomat that the wall was in the West Bank; His planned speech as MAsada was mobved due to heat concerns.
Trump will say a prayer at the Western Wall, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said, as well as pay a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, considered by Christians to be the site of Jesus' tomb.
The wall, representing the remains of the Jewish Second Temple, sits on territory Israel gained control over in the 1967 Six-Day war and has been a flashpoint of violence in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Trump canceled a planned speech at Masada due to the heavy heat. American sources said the speech would be held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem instead.
Israel will be the second stop on Trump's first foreign trip, following Saudi Arabia. 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 announcement of Trump's visit to the Western Wall came amid the controversy in Israel over a report that a US diplomat preparing Trump's visit referred to the WeJewish holy site as a part of the West Bank.
Israel's Channel 2 reported that during a planning meeting between US and Israeli officials, the Israelis were told that Trump's visit to the wall was private, Israel did not have jurisdiction in the area and that Prime Minister Netanyahu was not welcome to accompany Trump there.
An official in Netanyahu's office said on Monday that Israel has contacted Washington about the matter.
Asked about the matter, a White House official told Reuters on Tuesday: "These comments were not authorized by the White House. They do not reflect the US position and certainly not the president's position."
McMaster sidestepped questions on Tuesday about whether the Trump administration considers the Western Wall part of Israel.
"That sounds like a policy decision," he said during a daily briefing.