JERUSALEM — Israel strongly condemned the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday over an article denying Jewish ties to the Western Wall, which appeared on the Palestinian ministry of information’s website.
The article, a lengthy exposition on the history of the religious site, was written by Mutawakel Taha, the Palestinian deputy minister of information, and appeared on Tuesday.
“The Al-Buraq Wall is the western wall of Al-Aqsa, which the Zionist occupation falsely claims ownership of and calls the Wailing Wall or Kotel,” Taha wrote.
“The Al-Buraq wall is an integral part of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Haram al-Sharif, which is an Islamic Waqf (religious site) belonging the Muslim Moroccan-Algerian Boumedienne family,” he added.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, said the article raised serious questions about the Palestinian government’s commitment to peace.
“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,” he said.
“To deny the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is something that we wouldn’t expect from a partner in peace.”
He called on Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad to “publicly disassociate themselves” from the article.
Palestinian Authority officials refused to comment on the document, and Taha declined to tell AFP whether his statements reflected the Palestinian government’s official stance on the Western Wall.
“I am full committed to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s position regarding Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and what I wrote is the truth, and the facts of the wall, which Israel is trying to change,” he told AFP.
The holy site is one of the most contentious issues in the conflict and has a history of triggering unrest.
It is revered by Jews as the last remnant of the Second Temple, and is Israel’s biggest tourist attraction.