Netanyahu Castigates PA for Denying Jewish Link to Kotel

Waqf's wall?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday blasted a Palestinian Authority report claiming the Western Wall was not a Jewish holy site and was, in fact, sacred to Muslims.

"Denying the link binding the Jewish people and the Western Wall by the Palestinian information office is groundless and scandalous," Netanyahu said in a statement his bureau issued.

The report released by a senior PA official on Wednesday said the Western Wall had no religious significance to Jews and is in fact, holy Muslim property. Al-Mutawakil Taha, deputy minister of information in the Palestinian Authority, told The Associated Press that his five-page study published on a Palestinian government website reflected the official Palestinian position.

"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."

"The Western Wall has been the Jewish nation's most sacred site for the past 2,000 years, since the Temple's destruction," Netanyahu said.

He said this is not the only time the Palestinians have tried to distort historic facts to deny the "deep historic bond between the Jewish people and its homeland."

'Never part of the Temple'

The report disputes that the Western Wall was a retaining wall of the Temple compound, discarding centuries of documentation and archaeology.

"This wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple," the report claimed. "It was Islamic tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its loss."