A potentially explosive decision, proposed by Jordan, in the UN is likely to pass this week. In danger of aggravating existing national and religious tensions in the Old City of Jerusalem, The United Nations body responsible for World Heritage sites (UNESCO) is poised to adopt a proposal condemning and limiting, Jewish and Israeli activity in and around the site of the Temple Mount.
Speaking to Tazpit News Agency, Lisa Rahmani, of the “Face of Israel” organization, registered her indignation at the supposed content of the document. “We are outraged with the proposal. It not only violates article 9 of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, but also article 18 of the universal declaration of human rights, concerning the freedom of religion.”
It is expected that this draft decision will pass during the 196th session of the committee, due to the committee’s member composition and the automatic voting block that Jordan has in such UN bodies.
Submitted by Jordan and pertaining to the Old City of Jerusalem, key sections of the proposition potentially condemn Israeli activity in the Old City and the access of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. In addition, excavation and archeological activity by Israel and Jewish organizations is condemned.
The decision draft calls for the UNESCO committee to demand an immediate halt to all Israeli actions, allegedly impeding 19 projects proposed by Jordan on the Temple Mount and alleges that Israel is hindering Muslim and Christian access to the site.
Opponents of the pending UNESCO decision charge that the proposed text is filled anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric, and is based on misinformation and misinterpretation of facts and international law.
In an urgent letter of appeal to UNESCO by the “International Legal Forum” and “The Face of Israel”, the director of the Legal Forum, Attorney Yifa Segal, adds “[The decision] can cause a great deal of harm to all Israelis as well as Jews everywhere, and may endanger the very core values of which your organization is built on. We request that you withhold from passing this controversial resolution at this point, and allow us the possibility to present you with the facts and evidence to support our claim.”
Additional reporting by Michael Zeff, Tazpit