An Israeli official has stated that US President Joe Biden is planning a visit to occupied East Jerusalem during his forthcoming June trip to Israel.
The official stated that Biden may visit Al Makassed Hospital in the city, although the plans have not been finalized.
If confirmed, the visit is sure to spark controversy, as it would be interpreted by Israel as a sign of sympathy for the Palestinians, who seek the city as the capital of their future state.
Neither U.S. nor Israeli officials commented on the report.
No president of the United States has ever visited occupied East Jerusalem. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is situated. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never acknowledged by the international community.
The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) stated that Biden’s visit to East Jerusalem will result in the city being “split” and that the Biden administration does not accept Israel’s sovereignty over the city.
Biden is set to meet with Israeli authorities, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog, during his visit. He will also meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.