Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The Zionist Organization of America strongly praises the statements by unnamed senior Trump administration officials, reported by AP, that Jerusalem’s Western Wall (a/k/a the Kotel or Wailing Wall) will be affirmed now and forever to be part of Israel. The AP report stated that the Trump officials “essentially ruled out any scenario that didn’t maintain Israeli control over the holiest ground in Judaism.” (“White House Signals Western Wall Has to Be Part of Israel,” by Ken Thomas, AP, Dec. 15, 2017.)
The Western Wall was part of the encasement constructed around and abutting the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where Solomon’s Temple (the First Jewish Temple) stood from the mid-10th century BCE until its destruction in 587 BCE, and the Second Jewish Temple stood from 516 BCE until the Romans destroyed it in 70 CE. The Western Wall abuts the holiest Jewish site where Jews from all over the world come to pray day and night. Archeological excavations under and around the Western Wall have uncovered Jewish ritual baths (mikvahs) that worshipers used to purify themselves before praying in the Jewish Temple and on the Jewish Temple Mount; passageways including a passageway that scholars believe King David traversed from his palace on the site of the Tower of David to pray on the Temple Mount; Second Temple era streets; the Hasmonean Hall where the members of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Assembly) gathered outside the Temple Mount; and the Great Bridge that Jewish priests (Kohanim) walked across on their way to the Temple.
It is particularly fitting that the Trump administration’s statement was made during Hanukkah. Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees’ rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE and the re-establishment of religious freedom for the Jewish people after the Seleucids’ harsh repression. Notably, the Maccabees’ rededication of the Second Jewish Temple occurred eight centuries before the birth of Islam.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) reacted by once again attempting to falsely portray Israel as an “occupier” of the land to which the Jewish nation has the historic, religious and international legal right. (See, e.g., “Mort Klein – There Is No Israeli ‘Occupation’: It’s Not Arab Land and 98 Percent of Palestinian-Arabs Live Under Arab Rule,” by Morton Klein, Breitbart, Sept. 29, 2017; “UN Resolution 242 Entitles Israel to Secure Borders Beyond the Insecure 1949 Armistice Lines,” Oct. 2, 2017 (quoting US Ambassador David Friedman); and “Mort Klein: Jerusalem Was Never Holy to Muslims,” Sept. 7, 2017.)
Unfortunately, the AP injected several biased false statements into its reports on the White House statements, which were repeated in New York Times and other articles. For instance:
- The AP report misleadingly stated that the Western Wall “abuts some of the Islamic world’s most revered sites.” The Western Wall in fact abuts the Jewish people’s holiest site: the Temple Mount. The Al-Aqsa mosque was built atop the site of the Jewish Temple, to attempt to de-Judaize and show superiority to the Jewish people’s holiest site.
- The AP report misleadingly stated that the “[Western] wall is beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders.” In fact, the pre-1967 lines were not binding international “borders.” The pre-1967 lines were merely the “1949 armistice (ceasefire) demarcation lines” marking approximately the point where the fighting stopped, after six Arab nations invaded and tried to destroy Israel in 1948-1949 and seized the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest sites and Judea/Samaria. The land designated for the Jewish homeland by internationally binding law (including the 1922 Mandate, preserved by the UN Charter’s Jewish people’s clause, Article 80) encompassed all of Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria – far more area than the 1949 Armistice lines. Notably, the 1949 armistice agreements signed by Israel and neighbors Jordan and Egypt specifically stated that the armistice lines were “without prejudice” to a future political settlement.
- The AP report misleadingly refers to Israel “capturing” and “occupying” Jerusalem’s Old City and “the rest of east Jerusalem in the 1967 war.” The AP report misleadingly omits that Jordan illegally captured the eastern portion of Jerusalem – including the millennia-old Jewish Quarter and Judaism’s holiest sites in the Old City- during the Arab League’s 1948-1949 war attempting to annihilate Israel, and that Jordan illegally occupied these areas for the next 19 years. AP omits that this area was designated for the Jewish homeland under international law, and that the majority of Jerusalem’s residents were Jews. Yet, Jordan expelled and murdered eastern Jerusalem’s Jewish population during Jordan’s illegal occupation. In 1967, after Israel begged Jordan not to attack, and Jordan proceeded to attack Israel again, Israel regained the eastern portion of Jerusalem in the ensuing 1967 defensive war.
The ZOA greatly appreciates the Trump administration’s statement – and hopes that AP and other press outlets will fix the biased and inaccurate statements in their articles.