PA Rejects New White House Comments That Kosel Will Remain Under Israeli Control

(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority sharply rejected the comments from White House officials Friday that the United States “cannot envision” a situation in which the Kosel will not remain under Israeli control under a final status agreement. “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” a senior administration was quoted by news agencies as saying. A second official added that “we note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.”

Speaking to the Associated Press, top Palestinian Authority official Nabil Abu Rudeneh said that the PA “will not accept” anything less than all of eastern Yerushalayim as part of a final status agreement, including the Kosel and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. “This statement proves once again that this American administration is outside the peace process. The continuation of this American policy, whether the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or moving the American embassy, or such statements, by which the United States decides unilaterally on the issues of the final status negotiations, are a violation of international law and strengthen the Israeli occupation. For us, this is unacceptable. We totally reject it. And we totally denounce it,” he said.

The latest White House statements were a new focus for demonstrators in PA-controlled cities and in Arab neighborhoods of Yerushalayim, who for the second weekend in a row rioted, throwing rocks and firebombs at IDF soldiers after the recent announcement by President Donald Trump that the U.S. recognizes Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital. Israeli forces used anti-riot measures to break up demonstrations. IDF forces were deployed around Kever Yosef, after reports that Arabs had been organizing over the weekend a major riot at the site on social media.

Fifteen Arab rioters were arrested Friday during a second “day of rage” over the Trump announcement in a riot in the Jenin area. Several riots took place in Arab neighborhoods of Yerushalayim, with Arabs burning tires and throwing rocks at security officials. Seven rioters were arrested in the Issawiye neighborhood. In addition, an Arab was arrested in the Old City after he threw a rock at a menorah outside a house.

Gaza Arab terrorists fired a rocket at Israel Friday night, but instead of hitting its target the rocket exploded in mid-flight, over Gaza. The IDF stated that the rocket fell on an Arab home in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. “Once again the terrorists are shooting rockets at Gaza residents themselves. Just last week they destroyed a classroom in Beit Hanoun, and tonight they badly damaged a home. The terrorists are proving again what we have been saying all along: They by their own hand are destroying the future of Gaza.”