- Israeli government furious at UNESCO decision
- UNESCO renewed resolution accusing Israel of denying Muslims access to Jerusalem holy sites
- The Temple Mount is revered by both Jews and Muslims, though UNESCO only referred to it by its Arabic name, the Haram al-Sharif
- Palestinian Authority praises resolution as ‘important message to Israel’
The Israeli government reacted angrily on Thursday to a United Nations body’s resolutions that failed to mention any link between Judaism and its holy sites in Jerusalem.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) renewed the resolutions that criticized Israel for what it says are its policies that restrict Muslim access to a site considered holy by both Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The site is revered by Jews and Muslims alike, known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the al-Aqsa compound or Haram al-Sharif (which is the Arabic translation for ‘Noble Sanctuary’).
But a draft of the latest version of the resolution, posted on UNESCO’s website and dated Oct 12, showed the site repeatedly described only by its Muslim names – something Israel says amounts to a denial of its Jewish history.
‘The theatre of the absurd at UNESCO continues and today the organization adopted another delusional decision which says that the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem.
The Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, is a remnant of the Second Jewish Temple that was built by Herod the Great and destroyed by the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago.
‘To declare that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids,’ Netanyahu said.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: ‘This is an important message to Israel that it must end its occupation and recognize the Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital with its sacred Muslim and Christian sites.’
The resolutions refer to ‘Occupied Palestine’ and aim to ‘safeguard the Palestinian cultural heritage and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem’, according to a text seen by AFP.
‘With this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what legitimacy it once had,’ Netanyahu said in a statement.
The text of the resolutions refer to Israel as an ‘occupying power’.
The US also voiced displeasure saying it ‘strongly opposed these resolutions.’
‘We are deeply concerned about these kinds of recurring politicized resolutions that do nothing to advance constructive results on the ground and we don’t believe they should be adopted,’ State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.
Netanyahu took to Twitter on Thursday to mock the decision by UNESCO, which renewed its criticism of Israel for what it says are restrictions it imposes on Muslim prayer rights
The resolution was voted through on Thursday with 24 votes in favor, six against, and 26 abstentions with two countries absent, the diplomatic source and another source with knowledge of the vote said on Thursday.
France, which is trying to bring the Israeli and Palestinians leaders back to the negotiating table by year-end, was among countries voting in favor of the resolution on a previous occasion, a move that caused a diplomatic row with the Israeli government.
The status of religious shrines in Jerusalem has been the subject of dispute in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The resolution was voted through on Thursday with 24 votes in favor, six against, and 26 abstentions with two countries absent. UNESCO’s Paris headquarters is seen above
Since capturing disputed east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israel insists that the holy sites in the Old City should remain under its sovereignty.
The Palestinians, for their part, say that any final status peace agreement with Israel is not possible so long as its government refuses to cede control of sites holy to Muslims.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3837427/Blow-Israel-United-Nations-body-passes-resolution-denying-Jewish-link-holy-sites-Jerusalem-giving-Palestinians-victory-cause.html#ixzz4N3oZvx1Y
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Tags: Al-Aqsa, anti-Israel, anti-Japan, Dome of the Rock, Haram al-Sharif, holy places, holy sites, Israel, Israelis, Jews, Judaism's holiest site, Judaism's holiest sites are reclassified as exclusively Muslim by the UN, Muslims, Palestinian, Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Temple Mount, UNESCO, United Nations, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Western Wall