UNESCO, the U.N. agency charged with protecting cultural treasures, passed a resolution that declares Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem while refusing to recognize Temple Mount and other Jewish holy sites as legitimate.
The resolution is expected to be approved by the UNESCO executive committee later this month.
The U.S. and some European nations fought the resolution but were easily outmuscled by Russia, China and Middle Eastern and developing nations. Opponents were also hindered by two dozen countries that refused to vote at all, delivering victory to Israel’s critics in committee. A final vote by the UNESCO executive committee is slated for later this month.
“One-sided anti-Israel resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington, decrying the latest version, which Israeli newspapers reported passed by a 24-6 vote.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “absurd,” while members of the U.S. Congress said the resolution embarrassed the international body, whose formal name is the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“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,” Mr. Netanyahu told the Reuters news agency.
“This insanity shows that Israel’s adversaries are willing to go to any lengths to denigrate our ally,” added Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican. “Not only does the U.N. pretend that there is moral equivalency between Israeli citizens and Palestinian terrorists, UNESCO goes out of its way to insult Israel.”
Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, said he’ll insist on Jerusalem getting recognition as Israel’s capital by moving the U.S. embassy there. And he said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to defend the city’s place in Jewish history.
“In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.
Submitted by a handful of Middle Eastern nations, the draft resolution affirms the Old City of Jerusalem’s place in “the three monotheistic religions” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But the resolution then details a long list of grievances, accusing Israel of hindering Muslim worshippers’ access to their holy sites and looking the other way as Israelis provoke Palestinians in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
This is nothing less than a denial of history. Palestinians routinely deny archeologists access to important digs to prevent anyone from proving that the Jews were in Jerusalem before Muslims. They deny that “Temple Mount” even exists by referring to the site as “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary).”
And then the Arabs had the gall to claim that the stated aim of the text was “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem.”
One Israeli minister referred to the resolution as “delusional”:
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Unesco was ignoring “thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem” and aiding “Islamist terror”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that Unesco had become a “theatre of the absurd” in taking “another delusional decision”.
“To say 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. By this absurd decision, Unesco has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”
Well put, Mr. Prime Minister.
It’s amazing how far the U.N. will go to demonstrate its anti-Semitic character. Denying history and reality, the Palestinians and their allies won’t be satisfied until everything Jewish in Israel is sanitized or wiped off the earth.