A Palestinian Authority report claiming the Western Wall was not a Jewish holy site and was, in fact, sacred to
Muslims poses a serious question as to the Palestinian's desire to reach
a peace deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
Benjamin Netanyahu during weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Nov. 21, 2010.
|Photo by: AP|
The prime minister's rebuke came in the wake of a report released by a senior PA official on Wednesday which said the Western
Wall had no religious significance to Jews and is in fact, holy Muslim
Al-Mutawakil Taha, deputy minister of information in the Western-backed Palestinian
Authority that rules the West Bank, told The Associated Press that his
five-page study published on a Palestinian government website reflected
the official Palestinian position.
In a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday, Netanyahu severely criticized the
PA-sponsored study, saying that "denying the link binding the Jewish
people and the Western Wall by the Palestinian information office is a
"When the Palestinians Authority denies the connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall it raises
serious questions as to its intentions to reach a peace deal founded on
coexistence and mutual recognition," the statement said, adding that the
PA must cease its "distortion of historical facts and encourage a
bridge to peace that would lead to a historical reconciliation between
the two peoples.
Part of the report released by the Palestinians on Wednesday disputes that the Western Wall was a retaining
wall of the Temple compound, discarding centuries of documentation and
"This wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple," the report claimed. "However, it was Islamic
tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its
The report concludes that since Jews have no claim to the area, it is holy Muslim territory and must be part of
Firstly, Jews were in Israel there way before the Arab Invasion.... But that is not the point.
"As far as Palestinians, they do have limited access to pray in Aqsa and the Holy Sepulchre because they have limited freedom of movement throughout."
Firstly, as I mentioned arabs are free to pray on the temple mount. The limitation comes in response to violence, like throwing stones on Jewish worshipers but these are limited to those times. Jews are never allowed to pray on the temple mount, the holiest place for the jewish people. They are allowed to be there but not pray, is that fair, make sense.
I dont see how people can defend such policies, also like in Mecca but when it comes to limiting west bank Arabs (not Israeli citizens) on roads due to terrorist attacks all the sudden everyone is so considerate.
"That's a matter of Israeli policy, a way to control the Palestinians and expand the settlements." How does "limiting access to temple mount" as you claim relate to this?
The bottom line is that Palestinians can not deny the Jewish connection to the land. It is not helpful and only hurts any chance of making peace.
"At the moment, Palestinians feel an existential threat from Israel. I am not sure you can understand that as an Israeli because you don't deal with the suffering of the Palestinians."
And vise versa - Jews feel an existential threat from Arabs around them, whether is be those who throw rock, launch missile or blow themselves up.
"Palestinians respect that Christianity and Judaism are both religions connected to them."
While arabs controlled the Jewish holy sites before the six day war, Jews were not allowed to even visit holy sites. This was not due to any fear...
"People are cut off from Jerusalem, essentially." , those who live under PA control are limited yes, due to security concerns but the 1million plus arabs are free to pray in Jerusalem, it is not an ethnic or religious issue, that is all I am saying..... so too are Jews limited to pray in Jewish holy sites under the control of the PA.
Currently, 90% of Palestinians live under control of the PA. They are not part of Israel and just like any country can limit who enters
" If there is a way there can be some kind of concord between the Arabs and Jews regarding East Jerusalem, that would be great, but there is no trust."
I totally agree with you. I can tell you I have no issue with "whats arab should be controlled by arab and Jew controlled by Jew", in theroy. Practically I am afraid of limited religous access to holy site, as history has shown and furthermore of missles and bullets being shot from local arab communities as we have seen.
" Arabs came to the land thousands of years ago before Islam. The Nabataens were one example. Many tribes came from Arabia and went to Palestine for thousands of years. And it's irrelevant since Palestinians are in large measure descendants of the Jews who did not flee when the Romans defeated Bar Kokhba while the other Jews" i am not sure what this is based on - I can tell you that genetic tests were done from Jews from different parts of the world and were found to be closer in DNA to each other the local populations. Jews are a nation that were in Israel 3,000 years ago and then exiled and in the past 100 years have returned. http://www.familytreedna.com/PDF/Spring2008Page011Greenspan.pdf
Look, Arafat was born in Egypt, and he is also considered Palestinian. there has been a Jewish community in Jeruslaem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias living there since the exile, they too were Palestinian. Jews and Arabs has Palestinian passports before the establishment of the state. so not so clear cut about what "Palestinans" are and where they came from, this term as a nationality for Arabs is a creation of the last 60 years. Until then there were the Jews and Arabs of Palestine.
"The Jews do not speak really the language of Abraham, who was from Iraq.
They speak Canaanite which comes from the land in question. So the question of identity is a complex one."
Jewish belief is that Abraham was given a language of his own the holy language.
Sorry to interrupt your discussion here. I've heard once from a (nice) rabbi here (I think he's orthodox) that Jews are not allowed (from the side of their own religious law) to go on top of the temple mount, because (if I remember correctly) they don't know where the Temple exactly stood, and don't want to violate holy places that were in it.
That means (in my view) that those who really pray and really believe wouldn't go up to where Al Aqsa stands. And in accordance to this, all the rest is not more than political hatemongering. Who - if the religious Jews don't want to go up there - would want to go to the esplanade of Al Aqsa - and why?