JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his claim from a Western Wall candle-lighting ceremony that the site "will be ours forever."
Netanyahu made the claim Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting the morning after making the same assertion the night before during a ceremony at the Wall on the eighth and final night of Chanukah.
At the meeting, the prime minister said that Hamas at rallies and demonstrations in the West Bank to mark the 25th anniversary of the terrorist group’s founding called for the destruction of Israel and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem and every area in the State of Israel. He added that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas allowed the West Bank demonstrations.
Netanyahu responded, "We have been here in Jerusalem not for 25 years; we have been here in Jerusalem for 3,000 years," he said. "We have been in the Land of Israel for close to 4,000 years. We have a strong and steadfast national will, the continuous historical consciousness and strength of soul of a people that has struggled for its homeland and knows how to maintain its state."
At the Wall, Netanyahu said, "In recent days, I have heard that the Palestinians are saying that the Western Wall is occupied territory. I want to tell them from the closest possible place to the miracle of the jar of oil: The Western Wall has been ours for 3,000 years, and it and the State of Israel will be ours forever."