2017-12-20 / Mideast

Administration: Western Wall part of Israel

The Trump administration said it cannot envision an outcome in which the Western Wall is not part of Israel— the first signal by any U.S. administration that it recognizes a claim to Jerusalem outside the 1967 lines.

Senior administration officials briefing reporters about Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the region were asked whether Pence planned to visit the wall, as President Donald Trump had done during his June visit, and whether it would be an official visit, as opposed to Trump’s, which was private.

“We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel,” said an official, confirming that Pence’s visit would be in an official capacity. “But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement.”

A White House transcript of the call did not identify the senior administration officials.

Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but also said he was not presuming an outcome of final status talks.

Israel captured eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 Six- Day War.

The Western Wall is the outer wall of the Second Temple, destroyed in 70 C.E., and its largest remnant. (JTA)

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