Trump is the First US President to Visit the Western Wall

May 22, 2017  

President Trump on Monday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray.
Trump approached the wall, rested his hand on it in a moment of silent reflection and placed a note inside — as is traditional practice for worshippers. The president covered his head with a kippah, a skullcap worn by observant Jews.
His visit to the wall was preceded by great controversy, stirred when a U.S. official told Israeli authorities during planning that the holy site is “part of the West Bank,” and not Israeli territory.
The comment, as well as the Trump administration’s subsequent refusal to say the wall is a part of Israel, angered Israeli officials.
“The wall is part of Jerusalem,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday when asked about the subject.
The comment reopened an old debate over the status of Jerusalem, the thorniest issue in the long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process.
The wall is located in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.
Israelis view Jerusalem as their eternal, undivided capital. But Palestinians claim East Jerusalem, including the site of the wall, as a capital of a future independent state.
The U.S. and other nations do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Old City and the Temple Mount, where the wall and the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, is located.
Trump is on a two-day visit to Israel. Earlier Monday, he visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the tomb of Jesus.
He is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.


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