Western Wall (Kotel)
Western Wall (Kotel)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat categorically denied Saturday a report that the PA told George Mitchell it would allow or accept Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall in a new Arab state.

The London-based Al-Hayat Arabic language daily reported Saturday that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell a signed letter that the PA would surrender its demand that the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem be part of his proposed PA state.

Erekat told Voice of Israel government radio that the talks are secret and that he would not release details to the public.

The Al Hayat report also claimed that Abbas agreed to leave large Judea and Samaria communities, such as Gush Etzion, in Jewish hands, in return for Israeli land that would link Gaza with Arab communities in Judea and Samaria.

The supposed offer, headlined by mainstream Israeli media, would be surprising if true because the PA has claimed for years that the Western Wall is a Muslim site and has no connection with Judaism. It also has denied the existence of the First and Second Temples.

Al Hayat said that Abbas’ offer was part of written proposals he handed over to Mitchell, who is leading indirect discussions with Israel, dubbed by the United States as proximity talks.