Trump administration envisions peace deal with Western Wall in Israel

The Trump administration, which has remained tight-lipped about its vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement...

Posted: Dec 16, 2017 4:40 PM
Updated: Dec 16, 2017 4:40 PM

The Trump administration, which has remained tight-lipped about its vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, signaled Friday that the Western Wall should be part of Israel under any peace deal.

"We can't envision a scenario under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel," said a senior administration official, speaking on a call with reporters alongside four other senior administration officials. "We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the President said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement."

The Trump administration has remained tight-lipped about its vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement

"We can't envision a scenario under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel," said a senior administration official

The White House later sought to clarify the comments, with a senior administration official writing: "We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn't include the Western Wall."

The comments, which come just over a week after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, drawing outrage in the Arab and Muslim world, offered a peek into the administration's closely held crafting of a peace agreement the administration hopes Israelis and Palestinians will accept.

The senior administration official's comments signaled that the Trump administration is not considering the possibility of placing Jerusalem or at least the Old City -- of which the Western Wall is a part -- under international control, an idea first proposed at the United Nations many decades ago, before the founding of Israel. The comments also made clear that the Trump administration believes it's unrealistic to imagine a future Israeli state that does not control one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

The comments come days before Vice President Mike Pence is expected to arrive in Egypt and Israel, where he is scheduled to visit the Western Wall. The visit follows Trump's visit to the holy Jewish site earlier this year, when he became the first sitting US president to visit the holy site, which sits on disputed land.

In Israel, Pence will reinforce Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and make clear the US remains committed to the peace process, senior administration officials said.

In June, Jibril Rajoub, a senior Palestinian Authority official said that Palestinians recognize that the Western Wall should be "under Jewish sovereignty," but the larger Temple Mount complex, which includes the al-Aqsa mosque sacred to Muslims, should be under Palestinian control. Rajoub later said the comments he made on Israel's Channel 2 network were misconstrued.

Pence's visit comes as tensions are still running high in the region over Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceling a scheduled meeting with the vice president.

Senior administration officials said Friday they hoped Pence's visit would help serve as a reminder to the region that the US remains committed to the peace process, even as Palestinian officials have now rejected a future US role in the peace process in the wake of the Jerusalem announcement.

"We understand that the Palestinians may need a cooling off period," a senior administration official said. "Everybody realizes that a US-led peace process is the only way forward. We will be ready when the Palestinians are ready to reengage."

During his brief visit to Cairo, where Pence is set to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Pence is expected to discuss regional security, US-Egyptian cooperation in combating ISIS and cooperation in the pressure campaign against North Korea.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 484675

Reported Deaths: 9480
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33151493
Hinds31184589
DeSoto30803365
Jackson23735349
Rankin21390373
Lee14963221
Madison14206272
Jones13430227
Forrest13199241
Lauderdale11623307
Lowndes10501176
Lamar10258130
Pearl River9151221
Lafayette8268137
Hancock7534113
Washington7144152
Oktibbeha6989124
Monroe6533167
Neshoba6489201
Warren6486166
Pontotoc632993
Panola6278127
Marshall6165126
Bolivar6129145
Union576089
Pike5626138
Alcorn540590
Lincoln5310132
George473572
Scott461596
Leflore4495140
Tippah448180
Prentiss447979
Itawamba4457100
Adams4429117
Tate4420103
Wayne434667
Simpson4339114
Copiah432988
Yazoo423686
Covington417192
Sunflower4155104
Marion4111104
Coahoma3986100
Leake398286
Newton372375
Grenada3565104
Stone351360
Tishomingo338389
Attala325987
Jasper316062
Winston305691
Clay297374
Chickasaw287866
Clarke283290
Calhoun267741
Holmes262887
Smith252249
Yalobusha224347
Tallahatchie221150
Walthall211758
Greene209945
Lawrence207034
Perry201054
Amite199452
Webster196942
Noxubee179339
Montgomery172954
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162537
Tunica154235
Benton143035
Kemper138840
Choctaw128826
Claiborne127134
Humphreys127038
Franklin116928
Quitman104227
Wilkinson102036
Jefferson91533
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 790648

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1117431765
Mobile709021237
Madison50032633
Shelby36350315
Baldwin36278495
Tuscaloosa34034548
Montgomery33229678
Lee22712220
Calhoun21297410
Morgan19852335
Etowah19341462
Marshall17716274
Houston16862386
St. Clair15479305
Cullman14659258
Limestone14609188
Elmore14507264
Lauderdale13557281
Talladega13015236
DeKalb12214237
Walker10604330
Blount9735157
Autauga9691137
Jackson9400158
Coffee8934175
Dale8631173
Colbert8545184
Tallapoosa6688181
Escambia6599121
Covington6466167
Chilton6395144
Russell608755
Franklin5805101
Chambers5425134
Marion4818120
Dallas4713189
Clarke464079
Pike463297
Geneva4433117
Winston427395
Lawrence4124108
Bibb410281
Barbour347470
Marengo326485
Monroe320253
Butler318490
Randolph306656
Pickens306474
Henry302658
Hale293085
Cherokee290855
Fayette280373
Washington245548
Crenshaw238770
Cleburne236751
Clay229265
Macon220658
Lamar200443
Conecuh182046
Coosa170835
Lowndes170858
Wilcox159736
Bullock149543
Perry136537
Sumter124736
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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