JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Trump administration official who said the Western Wall is not part of Israel was David Berns, the political counselor at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, according to an Israeli television news report.
A second U.S. official, the consulate’s economic counselor Jonathan Shrier, also was involved in the incident, Channel 2 reported Tuesday evening. It said Berns could lose his job over the incident.
The remark that the Western Wall “is not your territory, it’s part of the West Bank” reportedly arose during conversations between an advance team planning Trump’s visit to Israel next week and officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. In response, some members of the Israeli delegation started shouting, Channel 2 reported Monday.
Netanyahu wanted to join Trump on his visit to the Wall, which is unprecedented for a sitting president. The request reportedly was rejected, with U.S. officials saying it would be a “private visit” by Trump.
“The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president,” a White House official told JTA.