On Wednesday, a United Nations General Assembly’s Fourth Committee passed seven resolutions condemning Israel without mentioning any transgressions by any other nation. One resolution referred to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Haram al-Sharif in a manner that seemed to imply that it was the source of massive bloodshed and humanitarian abuses perpetrated against Palestinians (i.e. Arabs who live in Israel) at the hands of the Israeli government.
“[The UN is] gravely concerned by the tensions and violence in the recent period throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory [Israel], including East Jerusalem and including with regard to the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, and deploring the loss of innocent civilian life,” the resolution declared. The resolution concerning the Temple Mount does not mention Judaism by name but mentions the “significance of the holy sites, and the importance of the City of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions.”
Arabs refer to the Temple Mount as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) due to it being the site purchased by King David for the construction of the Temple built by his son, King Solomon which was destroyed in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was built in the same location in 516 BCE and destroyed in 70 CE.
“The UN today showed contempt for both Judaism and Christianity by passing a resolution that makes no mention of the name Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site, and which is sacred to all who venerate the Bible, in which the ancient Temple was of central importance,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based, independent non-governmental watchdog organization.
The resolution mirrors almost identical UNESCO resolutions that sparked controversy in 2016. The resolutions called the Occupied Palestine Resolutions condemned Israel for failing to protect Muslim exclusivity at the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Following the passing of the resolution, Israel officially cut all ties with UNESCO.
The resolution also called “for full compliance with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements reached within the context of the Middle East peace process, including the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings, and the implementation of the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” It should be noted that the Palestinian Authority openly declared that they have reneged on all these agreements and will no longer cooperate with Israel in any manner.
The resolution also condemned Israel for constructing a security wall. The wall, in actuality 90% of which is a chain-link fence, was begun in 2002 in reaction to the second Intifada which killed over 1,000 Israelis and left thousands severely injured. Its construction has led to a drastic reduction in terrorism.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has used chemical weapons against civilian populations and whom the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say is responsible for at least 100,000 civilian deaths in his country’s nine-year civil war, co-sponsored a resolution which decried “the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
Only the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel and three Pacific Ocean island nations voted against the resolution.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan criticized the resolutions.
“What is the point of these resolutions? Just to pave the way for future resolutions?” asked Erdan. “By supporting these resolutions you are not only wasting U.N. resources; you are also sabotaging any changes of future peace.”
“Instead of persuading the Palestinians to choose the path of negotiations and peace, these resolutions only encourage them to harden their positions. Every voice in favor of these resolutions is another step toward turning the U.N. into an irrelevant body,” said Erdan.
Erdan assailed the U.N. for supporting a resolution pertaining to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), saying that “one of the biggest reasons for the U.N.’s failure in ending the conflict is its continued support of UNRWA. Simply put, UNRWA’s very existence makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unsolvable, and I don’t intend to allow business as usual anymore.”
“Instead of functioning like the U.N.’s refugee agency to integrate refugees in their countries of residency, UNRWA exaggerates the number of ‘refugees’ and automatically recognizes every Palestinian descendant as a refugee, even those who have already become permanent residents of other countries,” added Erdan.
As for the resolution referring to the Temple Mount by its Muslim name only, Erdan denounced it as an “audacious attempt to rewrite history” and erase the centuries-old Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
“As minister of public security, I ensured that all religions had access to Jerusalem’s holy sites,” he said.
“During my term, the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount each year more than tripled. No resolution passed here will stop that process. No resolution passed here will change the eternal connection between the Jewish people and the holiest site of our faith—the Temple Mount. They will also not change the fact that today, our connection to Jerusalem is stronger than ever. A growing number of countries are moving their embassies to Jerusalem, our united and undivided capital,” said the U.N. ambassador.
“Unlike this chamber,” he added, “which is detached from reality, a growing number of nations are acknowledging that Jerusalem is the undeniable capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”