Jibril Rajoub, a top figure in the Palestinian Authority, said in a weekend interview that he and the PA believed that the Kosel was a holy site for the Jews, and that it would remain under Israeli sovereignty under any final-status agreement. “We understand the holiness of the site for the Jews,” he said in the Channel Two interview. “There is no debating this point.”
With that, he said, Har HaBayis – the site of the Beis Hamikdash – was “ours and is holy to us. It does not belong to you, and I think you have to stop talking about how it is a Jewish site. This has been the status quo since 1967, as set then by Moshe Dayan,” who allowed the Muslim Waqf to retain responsibility for Har HaBayis. “Both sides should observe this. Continuing to claim both will lead to an explosion,” he said.
Rajoub, a former PA minister, is not currently a member of the government, but is in charge of the PA’s soccer league. However, he is believed to be an influential voice in the Authority. In the past, Palestinian officials have refused to acknowledge the holiness of the Kosel for the Jewish people or its historic connection to the site. In Muslim tradition, l’havdil, the Kosel is known as the Al-Buraq wall.
Commenting on the new efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump to restart negotiations, Rajoub said that the talks would be “an opportunity for us and for the Israelis. Trump wants to make the ultimate deal and end the suffering of both peoples. I call on the Israeli people to reach the right conclusions – it’s time for us to do business.”