Following shocking reports of Trump administration officials engaging in a shouting match with the Israelis after denying that the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, was part of the Jewish State of Israel, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster failed to put the controversy to rest. Talking to reporters on Tuesday, McMaster refused to answer the simple question of whether or not the Western Wall belongs to Israel.
“That sounds like a policy decision,” McMaster said at the White House briefing, presumably deferring the matter to Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Israeli officials were livid over the behavior of the Trump administration ahead of the president’s scheduled trip to the Holy Land.
In fact, Israeli officials were so upset over the U.S. delegation's position on Jerusalem that a shouting match erupted between representatives of the two countries.
“These comments led to vociferous protests by the Israelis, with the discussion descending into shouting and the Israelis reminding the U.S. team that the Western Wall and adjacent area ‘is territory holy to Israel,’ reported The Times of Israel, adding:
In a statement reported by Channel 2, an official at the Prime Minister’s Office said that “the comment that the Western Wall is part of the West Bank was received with astonishment” but that “Israel is certain that the comment contradicts President Trump’s policy as expressed in his fierce opposition to the latest UN Security Council resolution” — a reference to UNSC Resolution 2334 from last December, which rejected Israeli rights in Jerusalem and which Trump publicly opposed. “Israel has asked the US about this,” the PMO official said.
Nonetheless, the Netanyahu government gave the Trump White House the benefit of the doubt, insisting that such a historically revisionist point of view can’t possibly reflect U.S. policy.
But after McMaster’s non-answer, the Israelis may now be reconsidering their optimism.
Refusing to acknowledge three-millennia of Jewish history, McMaster spoke in broad terms about Trump’s trip to a shrine significant to the “three world’s religions.”
“He's going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world's great religions and … to pay homage to each of the religious sites that he’s visiting … but also to highlight the theme that we all have to be united against really what are the enemies of all civilized people,” McMaster said, repeating what can only be described as the politically correct introduction syllabus to World Religions 101.
By leaving open the question of the Western Wall, the Trump administration plays directly into the hands of the Jewish State’s most hostile enemies, or to quote McMaster, “the enemies of all civilized people.”
As The Daily Wire reported last October “UNESCO, the politicized ‘cultural’ arm of the United Nations, passed a resolution designed to erase more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. The unequivocally anti-Jewish resolution posits that Jews have no connection to the Temple Mount. Of course, the sick irony here is that it was the Jews that built the Temple Mount, a structure now increasingly occupied by colonialist Arab-Muslims.”
At the time, “[t]he United States led the charge against the resolution, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Lithuania and Estonia,” according to The Daily Wire’s report.
The Trump administration’s flirtation with crude historical revisionism, the kind that only far-Left anti-imperialist zealots and hardcore Palestinian nationalists embrace, comes as the White House walks back the president’s vow to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
“On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shared the Trump administration’s renewed efforts to advance a peace initiative between the Israelis and Palestinians,” noted The Daily Wire. “In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Tillerson appeared to walk back Trump’s vow to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, asserting that such a move would hinge on diplomatic talks moving forward.”
Tillerson’s remarks prompted immediate pushback by the Israeli prime minister himself.
“Israel’s position has been stated many times to the U.S. government and to the world,” Benjamin Netanyahu asserted. “Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem … will advance [the peace process] by correcting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
To make matters worse, Trump will likely push his peace initiative during his May 22-23 visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"The president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine," Tillerson said Sunday.
Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians would welcome an American-imposed peace process, especially one that’s quickly and thoughtlessly assembled, at this time. It’s a fool’s errand, poorly designed to boost Trump’s prestige and clout in the Middle East.
By all metrics, Netanyahu and the president were on good terms in the days after Trump’s inauguration. But given the Trump administration’s antics, that relationship may be souring.