White House removes video showing Israel with pre-1967 borders
A short video promoting President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe posted to the White House YouTube channel showed a map of Israel that excluded disputed territories the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights.
On Thursday, the day before Trump’s scheduled departure, the White House posted a video on its YouTube channel, which featured a map of Israel that omitted Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
The short video, which has since been removed, highlighted the five stops Trump is making during his eight-day trip. The White House stated his trip was made to “reaffirm America's global leadership, continue building key relationships with world leaders, and deliver a message of unity to America's friends and allies.”
“I hope this is just ignorance and not policy,” Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, referring to the video, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper.
Shaked said she believes Trump will fulfill his promises made during the campaign and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"The issue of the embassy is a promise he gave to his political base there, not for us. His voters expected him to listen and I want to believe that he will fulfill the promise he made to his voters,” Shaked said, adding that her party was elected to “ensure that no Palestinian state is established and to ensure that the embassy is moved."
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC News that Trump is assessing his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
"The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Meet the Press, according to Reuters.
Tillerson added that Trump’s decision would be informed by “whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem “would not harm the peace process.”
“On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
The United Nations (UN) does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The UN Security Council Resolution 242 also calls for Israel to withdraw from all territories the Jewish State captured in the Six Day War, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
Trump’s arrival in Israel on May 22 will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which will be commemorated in Israel on May 23 and 24.
The international community and previous US presidents have not recognized Israeli sovereignty over the areas captured by the Jewish state after that conflict.
In February, Netanyahu asked Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. When reporters asked him how Trump responded to the request, Netanyahu said, "I wouldn't say that he was surprised by my request," according to Reuters.
During his visit, Trump is scheduled to meet with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem, and will “urge Palestinian leaders to take productive steps toward peace," the text accompanying the video reads.
Trump is also scheduled to meet with Netanyahu and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.
On Monday, a senior member of the Trump administration sparked outrage when they told an Israeli member of the team planning Trump’s visit that the Western Wall is “not your territory but part of the West Bank,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
The next day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the comments were “not the policy of the United States.”
“The Western Wall is obviously one of the holiest sites in Jewish faith. It’s clearly in Jerusalem. But there’s been – it’s an issue that's had serious consideration. It will be a topic that's going to be discussed during the President’s trip between the parties that he meets with,” Spicer said during a press briefing on Tuesday.