It's official
Trump to visit Western Wall without Netanyahu

Gen. McMaster officially confirms that Donald Trump will be the first sitting US President to visit Western Wall without Israeli leaders.

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Gary Willig,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Reuters

US President Donald Trump will visit the Western Wall during his visit to Israel next week, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster confirmed during a briefing to reporters Tuesday.

Gen. McMaster shared President Trump's schedule at the briefing.

"The President will continue on to Jerusalem, where he will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, (Israel's Holocaust museum). The President will then deliver remarks at the Israel museum and celebrate the unique history of Israel and of the Jewish people while reaffirming our unshakable bond with our closest ally in the Middle East," Gen. McMaster said.

"He will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and say a prayer at the Western Wall," he added.

Trump will be the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall while in office. His visit to the holy site was rumored, but unconfirmed until now as the White House had not published the itinerary of the trip.

However, Gen. McMaster said that "no Israeli leaders" will accompany Trump to the Western Wall.

"He's going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect three of the world's great religions...and to highlight the theme that we all have to be united against the enemies of all civilized people."

Israel's Channel 2 news reported yesterday that diplomats stationed at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem refused to hold talks with Israeli officials about arrangements for President Donald Trump’s planned visit to the Western Wall during his trip to Israel next week.

The report quoted Israeli sources in charge of Trump's visit as saying that "this is Trump's show, all the rest are extras, including Prime Minister Netanyahu ... The statement that the Western Wall is territory in the West Bank was received with astonishment ... Israel is convinced that this statement is contrary to President Trump's policy, as it was expressed in his behavior and his fierce opposition to the last Security Council resolution."

The White House later disassociated itself from the diplomat's remarks.

"These comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House. They do not reflect the U.S. position, and certainly not the President’s position," a White House spokesman told Haaretz.

The diplomat who made the offensive remarks about one of the holiest sites in Judaism was named in a television report Tuesday as David Berns, the political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem.