Low-ranking US diplomat from Obama days denied Western Wall is part of Israel

The political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, who began his term of employment under Obama, was exposed as the official who stated that the Western Wall “is not your territory.”

An Israeli TV report has identified David Berns, political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, as the US official who told Israelis that Jerusalem’s Western Wall was not in Israeli territory.

“This is not your territory, but rather part of the West Bank,” Burns snapped at Israeli officials, rejecting a request on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the US president when he visits the Western Wall, Channel 2 reported.

A hostile exchange ensued, with the Israeli team asserting that Jerusalem is indeed “territory holy to Israel.”

Berns began his position at the US Consulate in August 2015, during the presidency of Barack Obama, whose administration had emphasized its preference for Jerusalem’s status to be determined by negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Shortly after Monday’s report, the White House rejected the official’s remarks, stressing that his words did not represent President Donald Trump’s position.

Tuesday’s Channel 2 report suggested that Berns’ position is now in jeopardy, as the incident embarrassed the Trump administration ahead of the president’s visit to Israel next week.

The report added that the Jerusalem consulate’s economic counselor, Jonathan Shrier, also contributed to Monday’s spat.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News