US to Palestinians: Western Wall has Jewish significance

The Western Wall

The Western Wall

The Obama administration has rejected the controversial claim by a Palestinian official that there is no Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Last week Palestinian Authority minister Al-Mutawakil Taha said in a report that "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.

"It was Islamic tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its loss."

Mr Taha said his view was the official Palestinian position. His comments caused outcry in Israel and now a spokesman for the US state department, PJ Crowley, has condemned them.

Mr Crowley described the claim as "factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative."

“We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of delegitimisation of Israel, including denying historic Jewish connections to the land.”

He said that the status of Jerusalem “must be resolved in final status negotiations between the parties," and added: "We recognise that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue to Israelis and Palestinians, to Jews, to Muslims and to Christians everywhere."

Last updated: 10:38am, December 1 2010