Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Trump’s National Security Advisor Refuses To Say Western Wall Is In Israel

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.

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.