Senior Palestinian Arab official Saeb Erekat on Monday once again condemned the participation of US envoys in the unveiling of an ancient road used by pilgrims during the Second Temple period to bring sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem and scoffed at their account that it was for a new archaeology project, AFP reports.
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and White House adviser Jason Greenblatt were among US officials who attended Sunday’s event organized by the City of David Foundation.
The 2,000-year-old Pilgrims’ Road, now underground in a tunnel, passes underneath homes in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, thus angering Palestinian Arabs who view eastern Jerusalem as their capital.
Erekat claimed on Monday that the tunnel was a project being used by Israeli right-wingers to further Israel's claim on eastern Jerusalem and advance “settlement” growth there.
"It has nothing to do with religion, it is fake," he told journalists at his office in Ramallah, according to AFP.
"It's a settlement project. It's based on a lie that has nothing to do with history. This is a disgrace to any diplomat, to undermine the two-state solution, to undermine the fact that there will never be peace without east Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine," he charged.
On Sunday, Erekat launched an unprecedented personal attack on Friedman and Greenblatt for taking part in the unveiling, accusing them of promoting “racist colonial” interests.
He was particularly angry at Friedman, saying he is “not a US ambassador”, but rather, “an extremist Israeli settler”.
Hamas also blasted Friedman and Greenblatt, saying their actions were the continuation of the American administration's “aggressive policy” against the Palestinian people and their holy places.