Senior Palestinian Official: 'Obviously' Western Wall Should Remain Under Israeli Control

But 'The Temple Mount is ours, not yours,' Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub says on Israeli TV

Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, May 2017.
Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, May 2017. HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS

Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, has said that the Western Wall should remain under Israeli sovereignty.

“We understand that the wall he [U.S. President Donald Trump] visited is sacred to the Jews and ultimately it has to remain under Jewish sovereignty,” Rajoub said on Channel 2’s "Meet the Press."

"There is no argument over this. Obviously, it’s a holy place for Jews," he added.

Rajoub linked sovereignty over the Western Wall to sovereignty over the Temple Mount. “The Temple Mount is ours, not yours, and I think you should stop talking as if it’s yours. That’s the status quo since 1967, as established by [Israeli general] Moshe Dayan, and we both have to strive for that. If you want to create an explosion just say ‘it’s ours, it’s ours,’” he said.

The issue of sovereignty at the Western Wall came up around Trump’s visit there last month, a first by a sitting U.S. president. Ahead of the visit, staff at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem refused to discuss media arrangements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau, arguing that Israel has no authority there. The White House later dissociated itself from these comments.Later, Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was evasive when asked whether the Western Wall is part of Israel.

In his interview on Israeli TV, Rajoub talked about Trump’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “We’re waiting for a Trump initiative, we’re ready,” he said. “Trump is an opportunity for us and for the Israelis. He comes with clear objectives to make an ultimate deal and end the suffering of both peoples. I call on Israelis and tell them: Guys, it’s time to draw the correct conclusions, let’s do business.”

Regarding the U.S. administration’s decision to defer the transfer of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Rajoub said: “I think it’s a message to both sides. It signals to the Israeli right that he’s not in their pocket, and to us it signals that there is hope and that he intends to make the deal he’s aiming for.”