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President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations has gone where the White House of late has been reluctant to go — she has publicly endorsed the idea of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and placed the Western Wall in Israel.
“Obviously, I believe that the capital should be in Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem,” Nikki Haley said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Tuesday. “All their government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and, I think, we have to see that for what it is.”
Haley also made it clear that she believes the Western Wall is part of Israel — something both National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer avoided saying after the news broke that Trump was planning to visit one of Judaism’s holiest sites while on his first trip abroad as president.
“I don’t know what the policy of the administration is, but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel,” Haley said on The Brody File. “I think that’s how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue….we’ve always thought that the Western Wall was part of Israel.”
Haley remarks came as Trump was preparing to leave the scandals engulfing his administration and embark Friday on his first foreign trip as president, a journey that also includes stops in Saudi Arabia, The Vatican — and a quick jaunt into the Israeli-occupied West Bank to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.
During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and declared that “under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”
But since taking office Trump has not made any attempt to move the embassy, apparently heeding the advice of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other advisers well aware that this could inflame the Arab world and possibly provoke renewed Palestinian violence.
And while Trump would be the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, the administration has taken pains to point out that the president is making the pilgrimage as a private person.
Also, US representatives in Jerusalem reportedly angered the Israelis by turning down a request to have Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tag along.
Why? Because the Western Wall is in East Jerusalem, which the Israelis seized from the Jordanians in 1967 along with the West Bank and which is not officially recognized as Israeli territory.
East Jerusalem is also where the Palestinians want to place the capital of what they hope will one day be an independent state.
Asked point blank if the Western Wall was part of Israel, Spicer gave a tortured response.
"It's clearly in Jerusalem," he said Tuesday. "But there’s been — it’s an issue that’s had serious consideration. It will be a topic that’s going to be discussed during the president’s trip between the parties that he meets with."