Trump told not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital ahead of visit

"It will advance it by righting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel", the statement added, as reported by Reuters. Trump will visit Saudi Arabia, the location of the two holiest sites in Islam, Jerusalem which houses shrines sacred to Christianity, Islam and Judaism and the Vatican, the seat of the Catholic Church. Israel has built settlements on war-won lands, now home to 600,000 Israelis.

The visit, a week before Trump's first foreign trip, coincided with a debate between the two countries on Trump's election pledge to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

"Israel's position has been stated many times to the United States government and to the world", Netanyahu said.

For months Israeli and regional media outlets have speculated that while Israel has long sought embassies to move from Tel Aviv and surrounding areas to its declared capital, the government worries that should President Trump make good on his campaign promise to move the USA mission the benefits could be outweighed by negative consequences.

President Donald Trump is widely expected to use his first foreign trip to give fresh impetus to Middle East peace talks.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the global community.

Christiane Amanpour on Trump's First Trip Abroad
However, under the Trump administration, relations have warmed and the USA is fully supporting Saudi Arabia in its regional role. And in Sicily, the president will meet with the other leaders of the G7, a gathering of Western economic powers.

The comment was in response to an Israeli request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to join President Trump when he visits the Western Wall.

Since Mr Trump took office in January, the Israeli far-right has called on the prime minister to profit from the incoming Republican administration's pro-Israel bent by pressing issues on which previous USA presidents would not be budged, such as the location of the U.S. embassy.

On the campaign trail, Trump voiced solidly pro-Israel positions. But Tillerson linked Trump's deliberations directly to his aspirations for brokering Mideast peace.

Netanyahu told Friedman his immediate visit to the Western Wall was "a strong gesture of solidarity". "I prayed for the president, I wished him success especially on his upcoming trip".

Trump's rise has now emboldened Israeli extremists to implement their illegal policies and further their occupational agenda by transferring the embassy, a move that Palestinian officials and prominent American politicians have cautioned against. He is scheduled to meet Netanyahu in Jerusalem before travelling to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He said he had "hope" about prospects for peace with Trump in that role as he praised the President for his negotiating acumen. Additionally, he all but ignores the fact that the Palestinian territories are governed by terrorists and terror-supporting regimes, while Israel is a free state and one of the few stable, reliable American allies in the Middle East.

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