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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'Palestinian Authority' caves in on Western Wall 'study'

You will recall that last week the 'Palestinian Authority' published a 'research report' that indicated that there is no Jewish connection to the Western Wall. Israelis across the political spectrum condemned the 'study.' On Tuesday, the United States joined that condemnation (Hat Tip: Israellycool).
The Obama administration on Tuesday strongly condemned a Palestinian official's claim that the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem has no religious significance for Jews and is actually Muslim property.

The State Department said the US rejects the claim as "factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative." Spokesman P.J. Crowley said statements of that kind damage US efforts to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and could incite violence.

"We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of de-legitimization of Israel, including denying historic Jewish connections to the land," he told reporters.

"As the United States has long maintained, the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in final status negotiations between the parties," Crowley said. "We recognize that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue to Israelis and Palestinians, to Jews, to Muslims and to Christians everywhere."


Crowley stressed that neither side should do anything to prejudice the negotiations, including unilateral acts in Jerusalem. When pressed, he noted that the United States had also frequently expressed its concerns to Israel about the construction of Jewish housing in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as their future capital.

"They both have responsibilities here," he said. "Both have to take the responsibility to create conditions for negotiations to resume."
On Wednesday, the 'Palestinian Authority' apparently removed the controversial report from their website, although they claimed that 'hackers' had removed it.
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday removed a report claiming that Jerusalem's Western Wall is not holy to Jews from an official website, after it provoked furious reaction. The PA Ministry of Information claimed that hackers had penetrated the site and removed the post.

Palestinian officials would not comment on the report Wednesday. But its author, Al-Mutawakil Taha, a civil servant in the Information Ministry, said that he stands by his work.

The move came hours after Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch praised comments made by the US in response to the report. In a press statement, Rabinovitch had said "the foolish attempt to place an 'alternative historical narrative' to the holy site of Israel insults not only the credibility of the narrators and the esteem for history, but primarily the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East."

The rabbi asked for "all the countries of the world to join in the US condemnation and for the PA to dismiss this document," and called upon "all the Jews of the world to visit the Western Wall and to connect through the wall with the history of the Jewish people and their future."
But are they saying something different in Arabic? We'll find out in a day or two.

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