J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement in response to an online paper by a Palestinian Authority official that denies any Jewish connection to the Western Wall:
J Street condemns this week’s denial by an official of the Palestinian Authority of any Jewish connection to the Western Wall. This blatant disregard of historical fact and disrespect for Judaism’s connection to its holiest of places is both disappointing and extremely unhelpful as the United States attempts to break the stagnation and resume direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
We call on President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad to remove this offensive paper from the Palestinian Authority’s website and to reiterate their prior acknowledgement of the long Jewish history of connection to Jerusalem and to the land of Israel. The U.S. must hold both sides accountable for counterproductive actions. Such issues must not become excuses that prevent an urgent push towards a two-state solution.
We reiterate our belief that a two-state solution will involve both Israelis and Palestinians having their capital in Jerusalem under final status terms negotiated and resolved between the parties. This includes a negotiated resolution to the difficult issues surrounding sovereignty and administration of the Old City and the historic sites in the immediate vicinity that guarantees Jewish people freedom of access and worship at the Western Wall, and freedom of access and worship for all peoples to their respective holy sites.