Yesterday, the Times of Israel ran a story indicating that things were not going well between the advance team planning President Trump’s visit to Israel:
The US delegation reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join the visit, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would go on his own. The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film here there.
At this point, the TV report said, a senior American official rudely responded: “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”
In my post, I speculated:
The “not your territory” is not something one would expect to come from someone in the Trump camp, but it is very much in line with what you’d expect from a State department official.
Now the Times of Israel identifies the people at the center of the kerfuffle:
The American official who sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray, is not part of Israel and not Israel’s responsibility was named Tuesday in a TV report as David Berns, the political counselor at the US Consulate in Jerusalem. A second US official, the consulate’s economic counselor Jonathan Shrier, was also involved in the bitter diplomatic incident, which deteriorated into an angry shouting match, Channel 2 said.
The TV report predicted that Berns’ job might now be under threat, since the incident embarrassed the Trump administration ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel next week.
Unlike some on this site who were accusing the Trump administration of a betrayal of Israel, the culprit was the political counselor to the US embassy in Israel. David Berns is a career foreign service officer who has served in Israel since at least 2002:
The same applies to the economic counselor, Jonathan Shrier.
The US ambassador to Israel only arrived there yesterday but any excuse serves to take a whack at Trump.