President Donald Trump isn’t ruling out having Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu join him during his visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, despite a statement by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster on Tuesday that “no Israeli leaders” would be accompanying the president.
In an interview with Israel Hayom published Friday morning, the president said that no final decision had been made regarding the details of his visit to the Western Wall next week. At present, however, the president says he is slated to be accompanied by the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.
“We still haven’t made any final decision what my first visit to the Western Wall will look like. We’re expressing our great honor for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the decision to go [to the Western Wall] with the rabbi is mainly because of the local custom. It could still be changed.”
President Trump, who is expected to arrive in Israel next Monday before departing for his trip to the Vatican on Wednesday, emphasized to Israel Hayom his desire to help facilitate a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Following his meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Trump said he was optimistic about the prospects for an agreement.
“I think that there is a big opportunity to reach a deal. I love the Jewish people. I’m working very hard so that there will finally be peace for the Israeli people and the Palestinians, and I hope that this can happen much earlier than when anyone ever imagined. This is a very big opportunity, and it’s good for everyone. This is a deal that will be good for everyone. We have the right people working on this, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt.”
When asked whether Israel should be concerned regarding possible pressure from the US to limit construction in parts of the Jewish homeland, President Trump demurred.
“I don’t want to get into that other than to say that I do really believe that we can reach an agreement.”
The president also remained mum on whether he would follow through on his campaign promise to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“There are a lot of interesting things that we’re working on. We’ll talk about this later on.”