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UN ambassador Haley says the Western Wall belongs to Israel

A dispute erupted on Tuesday between Israel and the U.S. over comments by United States officials describing the in east Jerusalem's Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, as part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"We are convinced that this remark is in contradiction to the policy of President Trump", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the West Bank and Gaza.

"When President Trump arrives in Israel, I don't think there will be any doubt over who has title over the Kotel", he told the Algemeiner. The following morning, the President will meet President [Mahmoud] Abbas in Bethlehem where he will convey his administration's eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict, and he will urge Palestinian leaders to take steps that will lead to peace.

As President Trump prepares for his first foreign trip as president, there's a report that a USA official caused some strife with Israeli counterparts ahead of his visit to Israel next week.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city to be its undivided capital.

An official in Netanyahu's office said on Monday that Israel has contacted Washington about the matter.

The White House distanced itself from the alleged comments, saying in statements to United States media that they did not reflect the views of the adminstration. "They do not reflect the USA position and certainly not the president's position".

USA ambassador to Israel David Friedman, centre, visits the Western Wall on Monday. Shapiro said it might upset the Palestinians but could be a way for Trump to cushion Israeli disappointment at his expected decision to postpone the U.S. Embassy's move to Jerusalem for at least six more months.

During an off-camera briefing on Tuesday, Sean Spicer explained that the holy site is "clearly in Jerusalem", artfully dodging the actual question as to who should rightfully control the disputed city and the holy sites located there.

He also surrounded himself with a core of advisers with strong ties to the West Bank settlement movement, including his ambassador, David Friedman.

His inner core of top advisors was populated with enthusiastic proponents of expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and, in a highly-contested move, the president appointed a very partisan David Friedman as ambassador to Israel. "We'll move the embassy, just give us time", the official was quoted as saying.

"This isn't your territory", one of the reps reportedly told the Israelis.

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