Update: The first resolution passed 24-6, with 26 abstentions.
A senior source said that the efforts of Israeli diplomats significantly changed the votes of European states, none of which supported the motion. Israeli efforts, he said, succeeded in swaying France, Sweden, Slovenia, Argentina, Togo and India to abstain from the vote.
The Jerusalem Post reports on the latest insanity at UNESCO: UNESCO poised to pass upcoming resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
The first of these votes is expected to be taken on Thursday by the 58-member Executive Board of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris.
The resolutions, which have been informally put forward by the Palestinians, take Israel to task for a wide range of activities in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The initial parts of the text focus on the Temple Mount area. The language used in the resolutions refers to the Temple Mount area almost exclusively by its Muslim name of al-Haram a-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. The text, however, does state that Jerusalem and its Old City walls are important to all three religions.
In the draft of the Executive Board resolution (dated September 2016) that was shown to The Jerusalem Post, the Western Wall was mentioned twice in quotes. Otherwise, it was referenced in the text by its Muslim name of “the Buraq Plaza.”
As a member state of UNESCO since 2011, “Palestine” may submit resolutions to UNESCO bodies such as the World Heritage Committee.
In 2015, the Palestinian Authority began a UNESCO campaign to reclassify the Temple Mount, but failed to garner enough support for an October resolution that would have formally declared the area as an exclusively Muslim shrine.
When UNESCO’s Executive Board met in Paris in April, 2016, it adopted a resolution that spoke solely of Muslim ties to the Temple Mount.
In July, another resolution with the same wording was brought forward by the Palestinians and Jordan to the 21-member World Heritage Committee.
The matter was moved to the October 24-26 meeting without a vote, when the failed coup in Turkey forced UNESCO to cut short the July session.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has in the past spoken out against such resolutions stating: “To deny or conceal any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription in 1981.”
Ultimately, however, the decision to pass these resolutions is up to the member states on the various UNESCO committees.
Here are screenshots of the draft resolution, taken from here.
Note the language – there is no doubt here there is no hint of neutrality. Among other things, note:
- The only mentions of the Western Wall plaza are in quotation marks
- Mention of “continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces.” They are referring to any time any Jews whatsoever go up to the Temple Mount.
- Blaming us for any violence and damage there, despite the fact we all know who is behind the violence, incitement and damage. Clue: not Israel
For our part, Israel’s Mission to UNESCO in Paris has given board members and international diplomats a brochure detailing the deep historical connections Judaism has to those sites. You can see the brochure here.
“These facts and evidence will leave no doubt, and without undermining other connection of other religions to the holy places in Jerusalem, of the deepest and longest Jewish presence in Jerusalem since ancient times,” Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen wrote.
It has come to this, Israel having to send out brochures to somehow prove our connection to sites Jews have been praying, crying and mourning at for thousands of years? I doubt a glossy brochure will convince anyone who does not already see the truth.
Let’s face it – UNESCO is a joke, and a really bad one at that.
Update: The vote breakdown:
The “for’s” totally disqualify themselves from any possible involvement in a Middle East peace process