Abbas aide: Western Wall is ours

An adviser to Mahmoud Abbas said the Kotel should be under Palestinian control.

Adnan Husseini, aide to the Palestinian Authority president, said Thursday that Palestinian demands for Israel to cede eastern Jerusalem under any peace accord also includes the Western Wall.

“This is part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control,” Husseini told Israel’s NRG Web site, adding that all of Jerusalem’s Old City should be part of a future Palestinian state. He made similar comments in an interview with Israel Radio.

The Western Wall is a last vestige of the Second Temple, which was razed by the Romans in 70 CE. Today it abuts the Temple Mount, which houses Islam’s third-holiest shrine. Muslims refer to the wall as Al-Burak, a reference to the Prophet Mohammed’s horse, which he is said to have tethered at the site.

Abbas had no immediate comment on Husseini’s statements, which appeared to contradict several past land-for-peace proposals that had won international consensus and called for Israel to retain control of the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Husseni’s assertions caused uproar in Israel’s right-wing opposition, which accused the Olmert government of escalating Palestinian territorial demands by proposing a division of Jerusalem into two capitals for two peoples.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said a future peace accord with the Palestinians would require Israel to give up on some of its long-standing national claims but did not specify a plan for Jerusalem.

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