Palestinians slam Kotel visitors' center

PA report: Danger of destroying al-Aksa is directed by Sharon's office.

kotel western wall 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
kotel western wall 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Palestinian Authority has lambasted a new visitors' center at the Western Wall plaza. "Israel is constructing a heritage center dedicated to show a fabricated heritage that might help them to deceive the foreign visitor into believing Jerusalem is a historical place of the Jews," an article about the new center on the Palestinian Authority's official Web site read. The report, which was published last week on the PA's International Press Center site and has remained the site's main article on its home page, also asserts that the Western Wall tunnels pass under the Aksa mosque, when in fact they are hundreds of meters away from the mosque. "The real danger of destroying Al-Aksa mosque is directed by [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's office," the report states. The lavish new state-of-the-art tourist center at the Western Wall tunnels, which will open to the public next month, incorporates ancient and modern Jewish history, includes an elaborate sound-and-light show that highlights both recent discoveries of artifacts and infrastructure dating back thousands of years. The hi-tech center, which aims to link the past with the future in an effort to reach out to Israeli youth, includes one of the world's oldest aqueducts, as well as exhibits on modern-day Jewish history, such as the Holocaust and Israel's fallen soldiers. Earlier this week, the cabinet approved a NIS 68 million budget for a five-year renovation plan at the Western Wall Plaza, which includes funding for the visitors' center, a new police station, and an information center. An estimated five million people have visited the Western Wall this year.