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US diplomats say Western Wall is in West Bank, and Nikki Haley backpedals

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We Israelis love walls. They can be so tall, provide us with a sense of security (who cares if it’s real or not), and serve as a manifestation for that blindness to the ‘others’.

Whatever you do, don’t take our walls from us.

But lo and behold, those American Consulate diplomats, they took our Western Wall away from us, this Monday! How could they do this? Indeed, how did they?

Well the story is that the diplomats stationed at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem refused to hold talks with Israeli officials about arrangements for U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned visit to the Western Wall during his trip to Israel next week. The diplomats claimed that the site is in the West Bank, and therefore the Israeli government has no authority over it, as Haaretz noted.

Oh boy, you can imagine what a storm that was. The Israeli officials found the position simply “unacceptable”, and the Israeli Prime Minister Office was “astonished”. Israel quickly demanded an explanation from the White House, which hastened to say that

“These comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House. They do not reflect the U.S. position, and certainly not the President’s position.” 

But US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley, the “new Sheriff in town”, whom Gideon Levy regards as the “Habayit Hayehudi [Jewish Home party] representative in the United Nations”, she went much further. Now she’s not only saying that she believes the “Western Wall is part of Israel” and that “we’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel”, but also that the Israeli capital “should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem”.

She obviously means the united, Jewish, Israeli Jerusalem. Eternally perhaps. From time immemorial. Of course there’s that little other thing, which is that East Jerusalem is simply not recognized as Israeli territory by any country in the world besides Israel, really. As well as the fact that it’s meant to be a capital of Palestine. But for Haley, this is not a huge issue. It’s just a “touchy”, “tricky” issue, as she says:

“the tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis come in on this. The Israelis don’t want to give on Jerusalem at all, and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that. That’s your touchy part”.

So, Israelis don’t want to give, and the occupied Palestinians, who are under Israel’s mighty military boot (which is supported and armed by the American sheriff), we just have to see how strong they ‘stand’ on it. And if they fail to ‘stand’, well too bad. That’s how “touchy” and “tricky” it is.

But back to the wall. Let’s never forget our walls.

So, this Western Wall, where is it really?

It’s in East Jerusalem. And you know, it’s funny, because sometimes even the most fundamentalist religious-nationalist outlets come to spill the beans on this. Last year, the religious-nationalist outlet Israel National News, based in the settlement of Beit El (which is US Ambassador David Friedman’s ‘baby’), did a count on Jewish settlers. The count neared 800,000 settlers. It wrote that

“Based on the Population Registry of Israel’s Interior Ministry, there are 406,302 Jews in Judea and Samaria as of December 31, 2015. As clearly stated in the report, the statistics do not include eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem (e.g. Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlomo, Ramot, Gilo, Ramat Eshkol, etc.) which are technically part of the West Bank and are home to another approximately 360,000 Jews” .

Get that? “part of the West Bank”. They know it. They obviously had an interest to state it in that context, because it bolstered their point that the “realities on the ground”…“have rendered the Jewish presence there irreversible and block any chances of a Palestinian State ever being established”. Had they missed out on the settlers of East Jerusalem, as mainstream media often does, they would have a much lower count. So they obviously had an interest to state the fact, that East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank. But they did state it. It’s from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

That means that the Western Wall is part of the West Bank. Why is it so hard to understand? And why is it such a big deal that American diplomats state the obvious?

It is ostensibly because that wall is so “Jewish”. And a Jewish State just has to have a Jewish wall. Saying that wall is not part of Israel is like saying Jesus wasn’t buried in the Vatican. Oh, wait a minute, he wasn’t. Where is he buried? In East Jerusalem!! Do we now need to make East Jerusalem part of a Christian State for the Holy Sepulcher to be a viable Holy place for Christians?

But that wall, it has become the wall of division. We seem unable to perceive walls in any other way.

Whilst it may be “touchy” and “tricky”, the fact is, that the Western Wall is in the West Bank. The Americans know it and we Israelis know it. Although the wall of denial is several meters thick. 

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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46 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    May 18, 2017, 10:57 am

    Trump asked if he could be waterboarded instead of going to Yad Vashem and giving a speech on the Holocaust. It’s so funny that Haley is pushing him into this corner. He’s supposedly making Bibi wait outside while he goes in to the Wall – to avoid a photo op making him look like an Israel lap dog I guess. I thought Haley would back down a bit on the party line but I’m glad she isn’t – she’s making Trump sweat it out.

    • inbound39
      May 20, 2017, 9:50 am

      Ayelet Shaked is currently slinging off about the Whitehouse Map of Israel NOT including Palestinian Territory or Golan Heights. She says Washington needs to understand her party will NEVER allow a Palestinian State. Articles on Maan News Agency and Anti War .com.

  2. Paranam Kid
    May 18, 2017, 12:17 pm

    Jonathan, once again an article brilliant in its simplicity & brilliant in its focus. It is a joy to read your articles which so poignantly drive home the madness of the israeli mindset, attitudes, policies, and the system.

  3. Annie Robbins
    May 18, 2017, 1:04 pm

    thanks jonathan!

  4. Ossinev
    May 18, 2017, 1:15 pm

    “the tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis come in on this. The Israelis don’t want to give on Jerusalem at all, and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that. That’s your touchy part”

    This woman is a diplomat ? (not). Strange CV though . According to Wikipedia she was a Sikh ! originally then converted to Christianity (Methodist). Somewhere along the way she became Governor of South Carolina and presumably discovered Armageddon Evangelism or campaign funding Ziodollars (surely not both). Perhaps she is just a run of the mill Zio idiot making run of the mill idiotic statements to impress a receptive Zio audience.

    • eljay
      May 18, 2017, 2:42 pm

      || Ossinev: … According to Wikipedia she … ||

      …lived in Canada. RoHa will no doubt inform us that that’s at least part of the problem with Ms. Haley. ;-)

      • RoHa
        May 18, 2017, 6:17 pm

        Eljay, I would never be so rude!

        (It might be, though.)

  5. eljay
    May 18, 2017, 1:39 pm

    … But for Haley, this is not a huge issue. It’s just a “touchy”, “tricky” issue, as she says:

    “the tricky part is where the Palestinians come in on this and where the Israelis come in on this. The Israelis don’t want to give on Jerusalem at all, and we have to see how strong the Palestinians stand on that. That’s your touchy part”.

    There’s this rapist and this woman, see? And the rapist says the woman belongs entirely to him and he wants to chain her in his basement and rape her. The tricky part is where the woman comes in on this and where the rapist comes in on this. The rapist doesn’t want to give on the woman’s right not to be chained in his basement and raped by him, and we have to see how strong the woman stands on that. That’s your touchy part.

    (Do Zionists ever take even a moment to ponder just how hateful and immoral are their words and their deeds? I suppose they don’t.)

    I wonder what Ms. Haley will say if the Palestinians stand strongly “on that”. Will she repsect their position or deem it to be unreasonable and perhaps even anti-Semitic?

  6. Maghlawatan
    May 18, 2017, 4:19 pm

    The late 70s/early 80s featured the emergence of a new kind of fuck you politics exemplified by the GOP in the US, Likud in Israel and Tories in the UK. FeaTuring monetarism and mould breaking in an attempt a different reality. The settlement project is typical Likud for example. Bullshit plus power plus money. Haley comes from some where similar intellectually. If you say it enough times it is true.

    • yonah fredman
      May 18, 2017, 9:32 pm

      Magh, do you get tired of hearing yourself repeat over and over. Never a dialog with you. Monologue over and over.

      The most interesting moment in israel was 89 or so, there was an openness to a new day. It lasted about a year, then the right wing put their heels down and said, we want to keep the west bank, or else they said, we don’t trust the other side.

      I like the way shmuel rosner gets labeled an extreme right winger. Not that I agree with him.

      I find yossi Klein halevi interesting. My politics are closer to avrum Burg and yeshayahu leibowitz, except when hanging out with genuine scum like two three four or five in the mondoweiss basement. But Klein halevi comes from America from modern orthodox, my slice of the yehudi pie.

      He maintains that jabotinsky’s claim to the whole land is necessary even as a step to partition, thus calling the west bank Judea and samaria, is natural good and a step towards true partition.

      Israel was changed by the second intifada. Whether it is justifiable or wise, I know your opinion and I know the other opinion, but the intifada changed israel. So to start talking about likud of the 70s and 80s, I don’t think you are accurate.

      In terms of leaders, olmert and bibi and to a lesser extent ehud barak represent the younger generation and ultimately not measuring up.
      Peres, rabin, sharon, shamir, begin, golda, I have opinions of each but certainly a different caliber than the three young ones.

      Trump is the scariest president of my lifetime.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2017, 10:31 pm

        “He maintains that jabotinsky’s claim to the whole land is necessary even as a step to partition, thus calling the west bank Judea and samaria, is natural good and a step towards true partition.”

        Oh, you bet. I mean, how could it happen any other way? What else could be a more “natural and good step towards partition?

      • Maghlawatan
        May 19, 2017, 12:12 am

        Yonah. 1977 was the most important switch in Israel imo. The Mizrahi working class took over. Likud was the Israeli version of patriotic law and order but with a land fetish. I like Leibowitz too but there has never been a party in power to implement his ideas. Political power in ordinary time is about system maintenance and in Israel the system is the occupation.

        There were moments when it looked like another view would prevail but I think Likud provided the beat for the last 40 years. They could always ratchet up the fear. Netanyahu basically owned the last 20 years. Today’s Israel is a reflection of his Weltanschauung.

        Sure the intifada shocked Israelis. They thought they could have a cost free occupation. After 1987 they intensified settlement. The core logic of the occupation is that it will work out. That Palestinians don’t count. That the Palestinians will leave.

        Israeli society is built around the needs of the occupation. Education. Army service. Media. Social funding.
        Sometimes societies decide to commit suicide.

        When it collapses I think people will look back to 1977 as an important fork in the road. The old Ashkenazi elite would not have produced a politician like Ayelet. I would love to be able to. talk to someone like Dayan about what is happening now.

        I guess Judaism has all the insight required to run a country. The only thing missing is how to use violence coherently to get what you want.

      • Maghlawatan
        May 20, 2017, 5:20 am

        Yonah, “never a dialog with you”. And you didn’t answer. Please explain.

  7. Kaisa of Finland
    May 18, 2017, 5:31 pm

    When did U.S. politics/zionists take this big role in Israel?? There is a “big black hole” in my knowledege/understanding of that..

    Allthough I have studied both the History of Zionism and the Middle East, it is unclear to me.. As I have understood, it has not always been like this??

    In a democracy, it should be one vote for each inhabitant, but now it looks like, the rich (or otherwise privileged) Zionists in U.S. have much more influence in Israel, than an average Israelian citizen can ever have.. And how have the Israelis accepted this, the fact that their fait lies in the hands of U.S. “donators”.. ?? It makes it practically impossible for an average citizen of Israel to oppose the majority in their administration or to be involved when forming new legislations….

    I wish Mr. Trump would keep his “a bit undiciplined” style on this and just decide that Palestinians need their own place too, with West Bank and East Jerusalem without settlements. And I would just love to see what a chaos it would cause (inside the Zionist elite) and respect D.Trump for that. At the moment he is the only one who could do it..

    (Not that it would immidiately leed to any changes in practice, but it would deffinately “let some fresh air” into these “established constructions”..)

    • Kaisa of Finland
      May 18, 2017, 5:54 pm

      lead, not leed..

    • yonah fredman
      May 18, 2017, 9:13 pm

      Kaisa- why do you think to get answers about israel from a bunch of haters of israel?

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2017, 10:38 pm

        “Kaisa- why do you think to get answers about israel from a bunch of haters of israel?”

        Because Zionists lie.

      • JosephA
        May 18, 2017, 11:36 pm

        Hi Yonah,

        Have you ever considered that the modern state of Israel is actually harmful to Jews? Stop, breathe, and think about that for a moment, let it really sink in.

        I had a professor in college, an older Jewish gentleman from New York, professor Stein. Although his specialty was WWI and WWII history, we did delve into other subjects.

        When the subject of the “holy land” came up, he said, exasperated, “what the hell are these people fighting over… HOLY LAND…? This place is like Kentucky, back in the old hoary days there were sheep shit herders, who would want to live there?”

        Most of my close friends growing up, and still now, are Jewish. They do very well in the United States, and in many countries. They have no interest in moving to Israel, and yes, they rejected the propaganda of the “Birthright” trip. The modern state of Israel’s actions are about as antithetical to Jewish values as US foreign policy is to Christian values and Saudi Arabia’s actions are to Muslim values.

      • Keith
        May 19, 2017, 10:33 am

        JOSEPHA- “They have no interest in moving to Israel….”

        Yes, but do they support Israel in any meaningful way?

    • Maghlawatan
      May 19, 2017, 12:17 am

      Kaisa I think it was after 1967. The French built Israel”s nuclear reactor early 60’s. 1967 was a miracle in the eyes of many Orthodox . US support for Israel subsequently was tied up with the cold war. The 1973 Arab Israeli war was US/Israel v Soviet Union/Egypt/Syria. When the cold war ended Israel was forced to start the peace process.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 19, 2017, 12:17 pm


        “The 1973 Arab Israeli war was US/Israel v Soviet Union/Egypt/Syria ”

        Thanks, I must go back to that. I am trying to understand how things ended up like they are today.

  8. RoHa
    May 18, 2017, 7:43 pm

    “like saying Jesus wasn’t buried in the Vatican. Oh, wait a minute, he wasn’t. Where is he buried? In East Jerusalem! ”

    No, not now. He was temporarily buried there, but then he got up and left. There is a shifty-sounding story that he ascended to Heaven, but those of us who have been paying attention know that he ingeniously managed to get himself buried in Kashmir and Japan. There is no record of him leaving either of those tombs.

    • yonah fredman
      May 18, 2017, 9:15 pm

      Some anti Christians hate the Jews double, first for not accepting the new messiah and his new post judaism message and then a second time for producing jesus imposed on them to make them forget their natural pagan selves.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2017, 10:25 pm

        “Some anti Christians hate the Jews double…”

        Gosh, the things we didn’t know until you told us, “Yonah”.

        “Some anti Christians hate the Jews double, first for not accepting the new messiah and his new post judaism message and then a second time for producing jesus imposed on them to make them forget their natural pagan selves.” “yonah fredman”

        Gosh, can’t you just see the Christians wilting like salted snails from the force of “Yonah’s” merciless exposure of their “natural pagan selves“.

      • MHughes976
        May 19, 2017, 1:11 pm

        Which anti-Christians have you in mind, Yonah?

      • Mooser
        May 19, 2017, 1:46 pm

        “Which anti-Christians have you in mind, Yonah?”

        If I am not mistaken, I believe that should be read as ‘anti-Jewish Christians’.

        Hey, that reminds me of a joke! “Yonah”- how can you tell a Jewish baby boy from a ‘natural pagan’ baby boy?
        Oh, you’ve heard it already? Never mind then.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      May 19, 2017, 2:07 am

      Point taken RoHa! That’s actually kinda funny…
      Yes i probably should have stuck to past tense, and gone “where WAS he buried”, that’s much less controversial!
      I didn’t really mean to offer any challenge to the resurrection story…

    • yonah fredman
      May 19, 2017, 4:05 pm

      M Hughes- I meant anti christianity. And I meant roha.

      • Mooser
        May 19, 2017, 5:45 pm

        “I meant anti christianity. And I meant roha.”

        I see I was wrong. You meant anti-christianity, and you meant “RoHa”.

        Coming from a big pro-Christian like you, “Yonah” it is a serious charge.

      • RoHa
        May 20, 2017, 9:35 pm

        Me? No wonder my ears are burning.

        I’m impressed by Yonah’s profound insight into the murky motivations and deeply repressed antagonisms of my psyche. Has this breakthrough been reported to Vienna?

        Doesn’t seem terribly logical, though. I don’t accept Jesus, and hate Jews for producing him, but I also hate them because they don’t accept him either? (Actually, the Jesus story suggests that the Jews tried hard not to produce him, so Yonah has to believe that I am not familiar with the story.)

        Logic is, of course, a pagan predilection, and one which we know Yonah is immune to. I, however, have been known to indulge in it, since I am the type who stands on pleasant leas, hoping to see Proteus rising from the sea, or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

        So I am not entirely sure that Yonah has got it right.

      • RoHa
        May 21, 2017, 2:08 am

        But I see my subsequent comments on Yonah’s claim are still being suppressed.

      • MHughes976
        May 21, 2017, 9:05 am

        For a moment I thought you meant Ludwig Feuerbach and Karl Marx, though these are not to be compared with RoHa. Mind you, Feuerbach influenced the highly philo-Semitic George Eliot.

      • Mooser
        May 21, 2017, 12:13 pm

        “Logic is, of course, a pagan predilection”

        My God, “RoHa”. You are right. Never thought about it before, but that’s just how it was. Pagans started us on the road to logic.

      • Mooser
        May 21, 2017, 12:28 pm

        “But I see my subsequent comments on Yonah’s claim are still being suppressed”

        You get free editing services, and you’re complaining? Maybe it wasn’t up to your usual standard.

      • echinococcus
        May 21, 2017, 1:56 pm


        Pagans started us on the road to logic

        and the religious banned it under pain of drawing and quartering.

      • Mooser
        May 21, 2017, 6:23 pm

        “and the religious banned it under pain of drawing and quartering.”

        Which is doubly ironic, since you can’t accurately quarter a person without using algebra.

      • RoHa
        May 21, 2017, 11:28 pm

        This is not entirely true, echinococcus.

        The logic developed by the Nyaya school was used in internal Hindu debates, internal Buddhist debates, and debates between Hindus and Buddhists.

        In the Western traditions, logic was used for Islamic law and theology by the Kalam school, and the Mu’tazili school was particularly keen on Aristotelian logic.
        Mediaeval Christian theologians also used Aristotelian logic in their theology.

  9. James Canning
    May 19, 2017, 11:12 pm

    Are we to think Nikki Haley has no regard for international law? Is she happy to serve as a stooge of those who believe Israel can change borders at will?

  10. inbound39
    May 19, 2017, 11:17 pm

    Personally, I don’t think Nikki Haley has any clue as to how uneducated, ignorant , moronic and totally stupid she sounds. Every statement she has made at the UN sounds like she is blessed with two brains….one is lost and the other is out trying to find it.

  11. Ossinev
    May 21, 2017, 2:04 pm

    Meanwhile some in the Zioland administration are showing signs of panic:

    Basically it seems they are a little bit miffed that DT may have misunderstood their instructions = yes keep giving us the $ 3.8 Billion freebie each year so that we can buy your qualitative edge weapons with no cost to our economy and yes you can earn some cash on the side for the US economy by selling arms to Saudi Arabia which is good because they are anti those nasty Iranians but under no circumstances should the arms which you sell them undermine Zioland`s qualitative edge. Now get your act together on this one and remember it is not a question of “Putting America First” it is a simple matter of putting Israel First ! Do listen and do as you are told !

    • Kaisa of Finland
      May 21, 2017, 5:56 pm

      And that evil evil Iran, so bad, so mean.. Unlike Isrelis with their eternal occupation or Saudis where the women have much less rights than in that “banned Iran”..

      I don’t know where this logic comes from, but maybe as a woman, I am too simple to understand..

      • RoHa
        May 21, 2017, 7:38 pm

        From what I’ve heard, in Big Bad Iran, the engineering departments of the universities have more women students than men.

        One of the barbers at my local barbershop came from Iran. He used to complain about having to fit into the family hierarchy whenever he visited Iran. Then his Iranian girlfriend came to join him. For a while he grumbled about house prices in Brisbane. (And who doesn’t ? Estate agents, that’s who.) And then they both went back to Iran. She wanted to do her PhD in mathematics, and decided it would be more convenient to do it in Iran. Probably easier to buy a house, too.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 22, 2017, 11:35 am


        Yeah, and in Teheran, there is this Iranian (Danish born, with Iranian parents) girl who runs her own Danish style coffehouse and employes about nine other women in her Cafe.. You just dream about that in Saudis.. (and yes the customers can be both men and women..)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 22, 2017, 11:47 am

        And all that talk about peace and “fight against terrorism” at the same time “the Guy” is going to sell a huge load of guns to the Saudi leaders. Sounds like a big joke.

        When ever peace have been made by using guns.. ??

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