It’s a site of significant sanctity, it’s of great historical importance, and one side is trying to symbolically take it away from the other. The Dome of the Rock? Nope, it’s the Western Wall—the heart of Judaism’s holy sites—and the Palestinians are claiming it as their own. Israel is pushing back, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) slamming the attempt by the Palestinians to get the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to label the segment of the Second Jewish Temple a Muslim heritage site.
“This is a clear endeavor to distort history, in order to erase the connection between the Jewish People and its holiest site, and to create a false reality,” the Israeli MFA said in the comments posted to their website.
While Islam does mention the Western Wall in their legends as the site where Mohammed tied his mythical flying horse, the Palestinian push to label the Jewish site as Islamic, in the midst of a wave of violence inspired by religion, comes across as intentionally provocative.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely hears that tense undercurrent loud and clear. The Times of Israel Live Blog quoted her as calling the Palestinian effort “shameful and deceitful.”
“The historical connection between the people of Israel to their land is stronger than any provocative Palestinian proposal,” the Israeli blog quoted her as saying.
The Palestinian move comes as numerous stabbings and other terror attacks have been launched by Palestinians in response to Palestinian incitement claiming that Israel is trying to change the “status quo” on the Temple Mount, a site also holy to Muslims. Israel has repeatedly denied the accusations, and the US sounds like they believe the Israelis after all.
Following recent comments that the status quo on the Temple Mount wasn’t being kept, without explaining exactly what that meant, the US backtracked on Monday. Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted in a State Department press release as saying Israel has “made it clear” to him they aren’t changing things and have not.
Said Kerry, “Israel understands the importance of that status quo, and I think what is necessary perhaps—which is why diplomacy sometimes enters into this—is to make sure that everybody understands what that means, that there is clarity as to what the expectations are.”
Kerry did not comment on Palestinian plans to change the symbolic status quo by changing the religious designation of the Western Wall.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 19, 2015)