Gershon Baskin calls Palestinian Authority’s denial of Jewish ties to site a “stain” and a “serious mistake.”Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev called on the Palestinian leadership Tuesday to publicly disassociate itself from the Palestinian Authority “study” denying Jewish claims to the Western Wall, saying “this is not the sort of statement to be expected from a partner in peace.”
“Denying the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is to deny reality. If you deny the Jewish connection to the Western Wall you are in fact denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the land of Israel itself,” Regev said. “When they deny the Jewish connection, they are unfortunately raising very serious questions as to their true commitment to reconciliation.”
Regev said this type of statement was to be expected from “Ahmadinejad’s Iran, Hizbullah or Hamas, but to deny the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is something that we wouldn’t expect from a partner in peace, and I call upon the Palestinian leadership – President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad – to publicly disassociate themselves from it.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said the government must fight to prevent the world from adopting the libels spread by the PA against the Jewish people. She warned that the “study” could be endorsed by UNESCO, which recently declared that Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem was a Muslim holy site and not a Jewish one.
“We must declare war on the culture of lies circulated by the Palestinians before the world starts believing them,” she said. “One can only hope that the more the Palestinians talk about the lack of a connection between the Jewish people to their land, the less people will take seriously whatever claims they make.”
Meanwhile, the PA officially endorsed the “study.”
The PA’s Ministry of Information posted the results on its official website, and these findings were first published in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The project was prepared by al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the PA Ministry of Information. He is also a prominent Palestinian poet and writer.
Taha’s “study” concluded that the Western Wall was never a Jewish site, but had always belonged to Muslims. He wrote that the Western Wall, known to Muslims as Al-Buraq Wall, is actually the western wall of the Al-Aksa Mosque.
Gershon Baskin, the joint CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, sent a letter to the Palestinian leadership in the wake of the Post article, calling the findings “a serious mistake” and “a stain on the Palestinian Authority.”
“If the content of the article is correct, you should take immediate action against the author of the report in question (if he is in fact employed by the PA or by the PLO) because his baseless claims are a serious blow to the legitimacy of Palestinian claims and make a mockery of the idea of peace between the Palestinians and the Jews,” Baskin wrote. “This is a most serious mistake, similar to the one of the late President Arafat when he denied any Jewish connection to the Holy Temple Mount (Haram Al-Sharif) in Jerusalem.
“Any observer, even a non-professional archeologist, can discern that the stones used to construct the Western Wall (the Kotel) are from the era of Solomon’s Temple and the Temple rebuilt by King Herod which was hundreds of years before Islam appeared on the world stage.
“The falsification of history, as done in the report by the Palestinian poet Al- Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the Ministry of Information, is a serious stain on the Palestinian Authority.”