President Trump’s National Security Advisor twice refused to say whether the Western Wall is part of Israel when questioned at a press conference on Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who was mostly being questioned about reports that President Trump had shared classified information with Russian officials in the Oval Office, also outlined the president’s itinerary for his first foreign trip next week, which will include a stop in Israel. In addition to making a speech at the Israel Museum and laying a wreath at Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust memorial, he will also visit Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
McMaster demurred when asked twice on Tuesday whether the Western Wall was part of Israel. “That’s a policy decision,” he said.
The United States has never recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Old City or other areas acquired in 1967.
Coordinating the visit to the Western Wall, a first by a sitting American president, was the subject of heated debate between Israeli and American diplomats, with Israeli media reporting that a meeting descended into a shouting match after an American official said that the Western Wall “is not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”
A White House statement later called those remarks “unauthorized” and said they don’t represent the administration’s views.