Resolution passed Thursday amidst lobbying efforts by Israel and supporters; Resolution recognizes Temple Mount as sacred to Muslims only
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted in a resolution that denies Jewish heritage and history to the Temple Mount on Thursday. The vote for the resolution is part of consistent anti-Israel efforts and successes in denying Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem.
The resolution acknowledges the religious significance of Jerusalem to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but claims the Temple Mount, the most significant and important religious site for Jews, is only sacred to Muslims.
The proposal was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Sudan last year, a vote in July postponed following a coup attempt in Turkey in July. The proposal has been advanced and pushed forward in international bodies by the Palestinians as continued efforts to remove Jewish and Israeli history from holy sites.
A reported 24 countries voted in favor, with 26 abstaining. The United States, Britain, Estonia, Germany, Holland and Lithuania voted against the resolution.
In June, UNESCO adopted a resolution passed in April that the Temple Mount would be referred to as Al-Aqsa in all official documents and official reference. Just a few weeks later, UNESCO voted to return the holy site to the “historical status quo” before the 1967 war.
Israel has been lobbying against the efforts to eradicate Jewish history from holy sites, mainly in Jerusalem. Earlier this week, Israel sought assistance from the Holy See on the grounds that denying Jewish heritage to the Temple Mount is harmful to Christians and Jews alike.
Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, responded to the vote Thursday, calling the Palestinians efforts a failure as European states did not support the resolution. She stated “The Palestinians have lost all support in Europe, including France, Spain and even Sweden. Along with the shift of position of key countries such as India and Argentina to abstention, the vote constitutes a significant achievement compared to the opening conditions for prior votes… There is no connection of another people to another place in the world that comes close to the strength and depth of our connection to Jerusalem from a religious, historical and national perspective, a connection that has stood the test of 2,000 years.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to UNESCO’s decision releasing the statement “The theatre of the absurd continues at the UN. Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for over three thousand years. What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock and roll? Is it any wonder the UN has become a moral farce when UNESCO, the UN body tasked with preserving history, denies and distorts history? Israel will continue to fight the lies, hatred and double standards at the UN. Israel will prevail because truth will prevail.”