UNESCO pulls resolution calling Temple Mount Muslim

Israeli diplomats can rest easier now that the vote, proposed by Jordan and the Palestinians, and which would have formally denied the historical connection of the Jewish People to the Temple Mount and Kotel, has been pulled from the agenda.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) has finally pulled a resolution to declare the Temple Mount sacred to “Muslims only,” after several attempts to submit it.

The vote, proposed by Jordanian and Palestinian representatives, would formally deny any connection of the Jewish People to the Temple Mount and Kotel.

Israel on Thursday was outraged to learn that UNESCO was planning to adopt the resolution and that the 21-member World Heritage Committee was set to vote on it.

The resolution calls for a return to the “historic status quo” on the Temple Mount, which it sees as favoring Muslims.

It is yet unclear why the vote on the resolution was cancelled.

Political sources told Israel Hayom that Brussels’ decision to back the move most likely stems from the ongoing crisis between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the EU, which seems to be escalating into an actual rift.

“Israel is very concerned by the EU intent to propose a resolution negating the Jewish people’s link to the Temple Mount. This would be an alternative proposal to the Palestinian draft currently being discussed by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee during its meeting in Istanbul,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The EU’s proposal continues to deny the Jewish people’s historic ties to Temple Mount, despite France’s apology in April, admitting it was wrong to support UNESCO’s decision to address the Temple Mount only as Al-Aqsa mosque.”

In response to numerous letters and public statements addressed to her concerning the possible anti-Israel resolution, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed in a statement on Saturday 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.

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. The current resolution is far more radical, and to Israel’s surprise, it has received the European Union’s (EU) blessing, which was reportedly promoting the vote on it.

By World Israel News Staff and JNS.org