Jewish Israelis less certain of Trump's support for their state, poll suggests

Gladys Abbott
May 22, 2017

According to a poll by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in March 2017, 79% of Israeli Jews said it's important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, while only 15% said it's not important.

The White House distanced itself later, saying that "these comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House".

The US president's visit also comes after Trump's provision to the Russians of intelligence Israel gave the US in secret, to the outrage of Israeli intelligence officials.

Like Trump's interest in visiting the Western Wall.

The controversy arose from discussions about whether the United States could agree to let Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany President Trump when he visits the Western or "Wailing" Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Monday.

And yet on February 2, two weeks before Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, Mr. Trump made it clear he would not condone unfettered building in the West Bank. Trump's White House has spoken of reviving the idea of a regional peace process, pulling in other Arab countries. But years of Palestinian violence and Palestinian Authority refusal to engage in bilateral talks raised and reinforced doubts about the possibility of agreeing on the final status of Jerusalem, and the topic was left on the back burner.

Erekat told The Associated Press that he is encouraged by Trump's determination, describing the president as "very serious" about reaching a deal. She converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, who will also join the American presidential delegation on the Trumps' first overseas trip.

While Israeli officials cheered Trump's election, some are now wary of the tougher line he has taken on settlements: urging restraint but not calling for a full halt to construction.

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Trump promised during his election campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump's pledge to change the bitter tone of the USA relationship with Israel that had developed under Obama will not prevent Israel from trying to manipulate him, former US and Israeli officials said.

Last week, administration officials confirmed to CNN that the embassy would stay where it is - at least for now - as Trump pursued a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. Abbas says he is ready to meet Netanyahu under Trump's peace efforts, and there has been speculation the USA president could seek to arrange a meeting while in the region.

During a visit to Israel on Monday, Trump's pick for US Ambassador to Israel, pro-settler David Friedman, chose the Western Wall as his first stop, later to meet with the Israeli prime minister who called Jerusalem the "eternal capital of the Jewish people" when greeting Friedman.

On the second day of his visit, Trump will cross the 1967 border to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel considers the entire city to be its capital.

Haley has been indefatigable in defending Israel at the United Nations, rigorously pressing other United Nations member states to end their longstanding hostility toward Israel on a range of issues, including the status of Jerusalem, Israel's capital.

The next visit by a US president took place only in the 1990s. Given the competing claims, the USA and most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. The low-profile Greenblatt, who spent about two decades as a lawyer at the Trump Organization before joining the White House, has traveled to the region twice since the inauguration and is in weekly contact with pivotal players from both sides.

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