Palestinians remove report on the Western Wall....
But, do they still believe there are no Jewish ties to the Wall?
A Palestinian Authority “study” that rejects Jews’ claim to the Western Wall disappeared on Wednesday from the official website of the Palestinian Ministry of Information.
The ministry said in a statement in Arabic that its website had been “penetrated by unknown persons.”
However, a senior PA official in Ramallah revealed that the controversial report was cut at the request of the United States.
The ministry said that despite the alleged attack by hackers, it was “determined to show the truth and relay all what’s happening in Palestine to the world.”
Despite the claim about a hacker attack, the ministry’s website did not seem to be affected at all and was continuing to publish new material all day.
The paper about the Western Wall, which was first reported by The Jerusalem Post on November 22, had appeared on the site until Tuesday night.
It was removed the first time almost immediately after the US criticized the Palestinians for issuing it.
The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the PA’s decision to take down its “study” denying any Jewish connection to the Western Wall off the website, by saying it was notenough for the PA to pretend this never happened, but was important that the leadership denounce it publicly.
“It is important for confidence building that the Palestinian Authority publicly prepare people for peace and reconciliation, and that can only be done if Palestinian leaders publicly disassociate themselves from such remarks and condemn all statements that call Israel fundamentally illegitimate,” one official in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“As long as the Jewish state remains illegitimate in Palestinian eyes, peace will not be real,” he said.
Although Israel denounced the “study” and called for the Palestinian leadership to disassociate itself from it immediately after news of it appeared in the Post, the PA only took it off its website after the Americans registered a public protest. Israeli sources said this was not a good sign, since the Middle East road map obligates the PA to fight incitement, and the issue “must be important to them.”
The “study” was prepared by Al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the Ministry of Information in Ramallah and a renowned poet and writer with close ties to the PA leadership.
Taha’s paper claimed that the Western Wall, or Al-Buraq Wall as it is known to Muslims, is Wakf trust property owned by an Algerian-Moroccan Muslim family.
“The Zionist occupation falsely and unjustly claims that it owns this wall that it calls the Western Wall or Kotel,” Taha wrote in his document.
“The Al-Buraq Wall is in fact the western wall of the Aksa Mosque.”
He said that Jews never used the site for worship until the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
“This wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep over its destruction,” he wrote.