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Friday, October 12, 2007

PA demands that Israel give up sovereignty of Western Wall

I was going to do this as an update to Why Israel should not go to Annapolis, but this is too much for that.

Arutz Sheva has an update on just what the 'Palestinians' accepted about Taba. It seems that they have not accepted the whole thing. Instead, they are pocketing the concessions the Barak-Ben Ami government made there seven years ago and demanding more. One of the things they want is sovereignty over the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of the Temple Mount, which has been a place for Jewish prayer for generations:
PA negotiator Adnan Husseini, a senior advisor the PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, said the PA now accepts the Taba agreement that Arafat turned down six years ago, according to Voice of Israel government radio.

However, he rejected Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall as well as the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Givat Ze’ev and Ma’aleh Adumim. [Maaleh Adumim is the second largest town in Judea and Samaria after Ariel. CiJ]

Husseini said Thursday night that the Western Wall “is part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control.” He also insisted that the entire Old City belongs to the Muslims.

Abbas earlier had agreed that a land swap would allow Israel to retain sovereignty over the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall in the Old City.


The concessions by Israel in Taba six years ago included:

• Jerusalem would be designated as an open city, with Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and PA sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods in the city. Each side would define their part of Jerusalem as its capital. The issue of the Temple Mount had not been resolved and the PA has now demanded the Western Wall as well.

Israel agreed to withdrawal from Judea and Samaria over a 36-month period and withdrawal from the Jordan Valley over an additional 36-month period, to be replaced by an international force. Arafat rejected these ideas. [Please keep in mind that two years after Israel expelled all the Jews from Gaza - some 10,000 people - most of those people still don't have housing. Depending upon whether Israel expels Jews from 'East Jerusalem,' the 'agreement' above could mean having to find new housing for 400,000 people within three years. CiJ]

• Israel proposed handing over blocs of land occupied by Arab residents, and retaining so-called “settlement blocs” within Judea and Samaria.. Arafat rejected this.

• Israel agreed to withdraw from 97 percent of its territory restored in the 1967 Six-Day War. Arafat rejected this too.

• Israel agreed to a limited so-called Right of Return, which would allow some 5,000 foreign Arab descendants of those who fled the country during the 1948 War of Independence. Barak proposed that the Arabs be allowed to immigrate (a) to Israel, (b) to Israeli swapped territory or (c) to the PA state. A second proposal offered to Arafat included (a) rehabilitation and relocation within the current Arab host country or (b) relocation to a third country. Arafat rejected these proposals.

• Both sides agreed to phase out the UNRWA agency that administered internationally-funded programs among the PA population, within five years.

Both sides agreed the PA state would have sovereignty over its airspace. [Bombs away! CiJ]

• Both sides were willing to make a commitment to fight terror and cooperate on security issues.

• Both sides agreed to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and that the June 1967 lines would become the basis for permanent borders between Israel and the new PA state.
Allow me to remind you what happened the last time that someone other than Israel controlled the Western Wall and (unlike the 1948-67 period when Jordan had control) Jews were Jews supposedly had access to it. It was during the Mandatory period:
The arrest brought back memories of one of the uglier aspects of the British Mandate: restriction on Jewish prayer in the Old City of Jerusalem:
In August 1929 an instigated Muslim crowd rioted among the worshipers and destroyed ritual objects. . . . The British set up a committee of inquiry (the Shaw Commission) to determine the causes of the riots and subsequently an international committee . . . [The Jews] asked only that there would be enforcement of the written intent of the Mandate: "according to Article 15 of the Mandate, the Mandatory Power shall guarantee the Jews free exercise of worship at the Wall in the form prescribed by the ritual of their religion without any interference whatever from the Arabs or the adherents of any other religion."

The Arab respresentatives made it difficult for the Commission because they refused to recognize the authority of the British Mandate. They stated, and it is quoted in the Commission's report, "The Palestine Arab nation have rejected continually and in every opportunity the British Mandate over Palestine, and therefore they cannot be bound by any arrangement or regulation derived from that." The Arabs further asserted that, it is the "Balfour Declaration that has incited the Jews to claim certain rights which in reality do not exist" and to generally insist on continued Arab control of all sites in Jerusalem that the Arabs considered sacred.

In December 1930 the Commission concluded that the Muslims had absolute ownership of the Wall and adjacent property. However, the Jews were to be given free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times subject to explicit stipulations that allowed Jews to come to the Kotel only in small groups and forbade them to pray there on Muslim festivals and on Fridays. In addition, Jews were also forbidden to bring Sifrei Torah to the Kotel, to place any chairs in front of the Wall or to blow the Shofar, lest it offend the Arab population.

The Jewish authorities agreed to this unfair verdict, except for the prohibition of the Shofar, considering it a humiliation. The Arabs rejected the report. The Betar Youth Movement organized Plugut Hakotel, a special unit of young men who would "illegally" blow the Shofar at the Wall on Yom Kippur to stir and arouse the Jewish people and fulfil the commandment of blowing the Shofar. Their activities would always lead to the intervention of the British police.
Truly deja vu all over again....

For the record, the Western Wall has no sanctity whatsoever to Muslims. In recent years, they have claimed that Muhammed tied his horse up there. Big deal. Muslims have never used it as a prayer spot. And they pray with their back towards Jerusalem - facing Mecca - anyway.

Still waiting for Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Eli Yishai (Shas) to decide to withdraw their parties from the government. Tick, tick, tick....


At 4:42 PM, Blogger Author "B" said...

*sputtering in anger*
Their chutzpah is boundless.

Also- would someone please explain why Olmert is still in authority? Even when I lived there, I couldn't follow Israeli politics, though I did have a theory.....
Shabbat shalom, Carl.

Kahane tzadak.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

Stop the damn concessions before I rip my hair out! I want to scream so loudly at all the Israeli politicians and tell them Land for Peace does not work! Instead it is "Piece by Piece", that is what the Arabs are doing to Israel, taking it piece by piece! Stop it Israel! Stop Giving your Land away! Stop Dividing it! That little strip of land is completely yours by every right imaginable including divine right!


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