On Friday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Executive Board in Paris adopted a resolution erasing Israel’s ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The UNESCO resolution referred to the Temple Mount area solely as the Al-Aqsa Mosque or Al-Haram Al Sharif, ignoring the Jewish claim to the site.
The resolution called Israel “the occupying power” and the Western Wall as Al-Buraq Plaza. It demanded that Israel not restrict Muslim access to the Temple Mount, condemning Israel for “illegal measures against the freedom of worship” at the “Muslim holy site of worship”. It demanded a return to the “status quo”. The status quo since Israel conquered the Temple Mount in 1967 forbids non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount and has remained unchanged.
Blaming “Israel aggression” for the violence at the site, it had no mention of the role of Muslim rioters.
It also condemned the Israel’s plans to establish an egalitarian, non-Orthodox prayer section by Robinson’s Arch.
It accused Israel of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” located on Waqf property east and south of the Temple Mount, and of “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”.
It referred to Hebron and Bethlehem as solely “Palestinian sites”.
Authorized by the executive board’s Programme and External Relations Commission, the resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan. The 58-member board approved the resolution with 33 votes in favor, six against and 17 abstentions. Two countries, Ghana and Turkmenistan were absent all together. Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the US voted against the resolution. France, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia were among those countries that supported the resolution.
Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama, released a statement saying, “Even if UNESCO passes dozens of resolutions, and decides to continue passing thousands more, Jerusalem will always remain as part of the capital of Israel and the Jewish people.” Shama added, “As you continue on this path of incitement, lies and terror you will be sending UNESCO down a path towards irrelevance.”
“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Netanyahu said Saturday. “UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.”