PA Official Claims Kosel for Muslims

YERUSHALAYIM -
Kosel, Palestinians
Birkas Kohanim at the Kosel on Pesach. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

A week after a Palestinian Authority official made the surprising statement that the Kosel should permanently remain under Israeli control, another PA official said the opposite, that Muslims cannot concede any part of the holy site to non-Muslims.

“It is an Islamic endowment that absolutely cannot belong to non-Muslims,” Mahmoud Habash, Abbas’s religious affairs adviser, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying during a sermon Friday. “It is our property and endowment. It is impossible to concede one millimeter of it.”

A week ago, Jabril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, came under fire from Hamas for acknowledging the eternal Jewish connection to the Kosel. “In the end, it must be under Jewish sovereignty. We have no argument about that. This is a Jewish holy place,” Rajoub told Israel’s Channel 2.

Hamas seized on the comment as proof that the PA, its rival for leadership, is “moving to liquidate the Palestinian cause and concede its national and religious properties.”

Rajoub subsequently issued a “clarification,” saying that he did not concede “Jewish sovereignty” over the site, as he was quoted in the media. “I said Jewish religious supervision,” Rajoub told PA broadcasting on June 6, even though in the Channel 2 interview he clearly used the term “Jewish sovereignty.”