UNESCO head affirms Jerusalem holy to all 3 religions

Following the recent uproar over Jordan and the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to erase the Jewish people’s millennium-old connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova emphasized that all three religions have recognized rights to Jerusalem.

The heritage of Jerusalem is “indivisible,” and every religious community has a right to the “explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova stated Saturday.

Bokova made the statement in response to numerous letters and public statements addressed to her concerning a possible anti-Israel resolution submitted to UNESCO to declare the Temple Mount sacred to “Muslims only.”

The vote on the resolution was subsequently pulled and postponed until UNESCO reconvenes in October.

In her statement, Bokova stressed that “the Old City of Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities have a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. 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 as a World Heritage site. The World Heritage Committee is precisely to uphold the spirit of this historic decision,” she stated.

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She said that this requirement was now “stronger than ever, when the city of Jerusalem is witnessing violence, fueling divisions and harming the multi-faith character of the Old City. I am concerned about the way physical violence is being associated with symbolic violence, as well as the will to erase history and instrumentalize culture.”

“When these divisions carry over onto UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, it prevents us from carrying out our mission, she cautioned.

“As Director-General of UNESCO, it is my responsibility to forcefully recall the significance of the universal value of the Old City of Jerusalem and the need to transmit it to future generations. Thirty-five years after the inscription of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List, this determination has never been stronger,” declared the Director-General, pushing back against the Jordanian-Palestinian proposition.

In June, UNESCO adopted a resolution deciding to refer to the holy Jerusalem site only by the name of the Muslim mosque on its grounds—Al-Aqsa—in all official documents.

At the time, Bokova condemned the resolution, saying that “the protection of cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate and efforts.”

“Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people and a mosaic of cultures and peoples, whose history has shaped the history of all humanity,” she underscored.

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Muslim countries, and recently Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, have been using international venues to undermine and negate the Jewish People’s undeniable historical connection to Israel and its capital Jerusalem.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News