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Netanyahu in hot water over US embassy and wall


Netanyahu in hot water over US embassy and wall

The Israeli Prime Minister has voiced his support for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke up after the head of the Republicans Overseas Israel Branch gave an interview to the Haaretz newspaper in which he said new US President Donald Trump was “proceeding cautiously because of concerns raised by Israeli officials.”

Trump and Netanyahu are due to meet in Washington early next month.

What Netanyahu said

“I want to take the opportunity to make it unequivocally clear that our position has always been, and remains so now and at all times, that the US embassy should be here, in Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and it is right and proper that all of the foreign embassies, and not only the American embassy, move here. I believe that, in time, most of them will come to Jerusalem.”

However, Israeli officials have said they do not want a US embassy move rushed.

Political commentators have noted that its relocation would damage the stronger relations Israel has been quietly building with the Sunni Muslim world.

What Trump said

Trump’s team spoke often during the recent US presidential campaign about shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The city is Israel’s self-proclaimed capital and a holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, a week ago, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer lowered expectations of an imminent announcement.

What the Palestinians say

The move would spark anger in the Arab world.

Palestinian officials say relocating the embassy would kill off any prospects for peace.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem – which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally – to be the capital of a state they seek to create in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

What the international community says

The international community says Jerusalem’s final status should be determined via direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Talks collapsed in 2014.

Are there any embassies in Jerusalem?

Not currently, no.

Costa Rica and El Salvador were there until a few years ago, but they are now in Tel Aviv.

Tweet controversy

Netanyahu sent a tweet in support of President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US border with Mexico.

It was retweeted 40,000 times. There has been a backlash at home and abroad.

The tweet was sent from his personal account shortly before the Jewish sabbath officially ended on Saturday.

“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

Netanyahu was referring to a steel fence Israel has built along its border with Egypt.

It is meant to keep out migrants fleeing conflicts in Africa, including Somalis, Sudanese and Eritreans.