22 May 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Jerusalem will always be the capital of the Jewish state, speaking ahead of a visit by US President Donald Trump.

“Tonight, I say to the whole world and in the clearest way possible, Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu said in front of thousands of concert-goers.

“The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Trump is on Monday expected to become the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall.

Netanyahu was speaking at festivities marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s illegal conquest of east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.

Preparations for Trump’s visit have led to criticism from Israeli right-wingers after US officials declined to say whether the Western Wall was part of Israel.

The legal and diplomatic status of Jerusalem is one of the key points in the Middle East conflict.

Israel considers the entire city to be its eternal and indivisible capital, but the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Muslims consider the Western Wall as a sacred part of Masjid al Aqsa, known as the Buraq Wall.