President Donald Trump canceled a planned speech at the historic mountain fortress of Masada in Israel after learning that he could not land a helicopter at the site, Newsweek reported on Thursday.
Trump was supposed to speak at the ancient and historic mountain fortress of Masada during his upcoming foreign trip, but he will instead speak at the Israel Museum, which apparently can accommodate Trump's chopper.
Bush and Bill Clinton visited the mountain site on the edge of the Judean Desert by taking a helicopter to the base of the mountain and then a cable vehicle up to fortress, per Newsweek. It comes after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) regulation that prevents helicopters landing at the summit of the Masada site, according to Israel's Channel 2 broadcaster.
Helicopters were once allowed to land on the monument, but the rules were changed in the 1990s, because dust clouds stirred up by helicopter landings damaged the fortress and artifacts, the Jerusalem Post reported.
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Trump will be visiting Israel and Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23 - amid reports of a "sour" relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhyahu, since last week's report that he had given the Russian foreign minister and ambassador classified information provided by Israel. The fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the country's archaeological wonders. Trump has canceled his visit to the site after Israel said he could not land his helicopter on top of the site. The fortress became a symbol of Jewish heroism after dozens of Jews there chose to kill themselves, 960 in total, rather than surrender to the Romans in 70 AD. Initial reports indicated that the reason for the cancellation was the hot weather at Masada. The Dead Sea Scrolls make an important setting'.
Trump's visit to Israel has already been under a diplomatic test. USA does not consider the West Bank a part of Israeli land.
Israel considers the site to be the nearest to the holiest landmark in Judaism-the Temple Mount-where Israelis can pray, to be part of Jerusalem and, therefore, Israel.
This announcement left Netanyahu's angry and White House officials had to reiterate that this was not Trump's position.