TEL AVIV — Furthering President Donald Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House on Friday clarified its view that it expects the Western Wall to be officially declared a part of Israel in a future deal with the Palestinians.
The statements come after H.R. McMaster, Trump’s embattled national security adviser, previously declined to say whether the White House considers the holy site to be a part of Israel. And it follows reports in recent days that McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that Jerusalem’s holy sites and borders are subject to ongoing negotiations.
“We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” a senior administration official stated in a conference call with reporters.
Another official told the Associated Press by email, “We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.”
The statements come as Vice President Mike Pence is due in Israel next week, where he plans to visit the Western Wall.
Despite Trump’s declaration, the State Department confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem earlier this week that for the time being it will not print “Israel” on U.S. passports for American citizens born in Jerusalem.
The Temple Mount and Western Wall are the holiest sites in Judaism. For millennia, Jews worldwide have prayed facing the holy sites, which are located in the eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Jews maintained a historic presence in Jerusalem, including in the eastern sections where the Western Wall is located, until they were forced to leave the Old City en masse in 1948.
Jordan illegally occupied and annexed eastern Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, from 1948 until Israel captured the lands in a defensive war in 1967. Known as the Six Day War, the conflict was launched after Arab countries used the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to stage attacks against the Jewish state.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.