Israel rejects UNESCO resolution

October 22, 2015 Agencies
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Israel has totally rejected the resolution on ‘Occupied Palestine’ adopted today at the plenary of the 197th Session of UNESCO’s Executive Board.

Praying at the Wailing Wall Photo: Henry Benjamin

Praying at the Wailing Wall Photo: Henry Benjamin

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated: ” The resolution aims to transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious confrontation and its adoption is a disgrace for UNESCO’s Executive Board.  The Executive Board has joined the pyromaniacs seeking to set fire to the most sensitive sites to humankind.

The decision is an abuse of UNESCO’s mandate. UNESCO’s Director-General Mrs. Irina Bokova yesterday expressed her strong opposition to the resolution, which constitutes “taking the protection of cultural heritage hostage” and “undermining UNESCO’s mandate and efforts”. The DG:  “deplores the proposals…appeals to the UNESCO Executive Board to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites”.
Instead of striving to reduce tensions, the authors of the resolution are working to fuel the flames in the region, using irresponsible religious rhetoric and distorting history.
This decision is yet another step in the continuous Palestinian endeavor to rewrite history and distort the sources of World Heritage in this part of the World. The Palestinian leadership’s attempt to claim for themselves Jewish and Christian holy sites doesn’t bode well; suffice to look at the torching of Joseph’s Tomb by Palestinians just a few days ago. The deep Jewish ties to the holy sites in Jerusalem and its surroundings are undeniable and no decision of UNESCO can alter that.”
Ronald S. Lauder

Ronald S. Lauder

Following the adoption of the resolution by the UNESCO Executive in Paris, which accuses Israel of “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder said that “the UNESCO Executive has given in to false claims and to radical, one-sided Palestinian demands. Alas, this will do nothing to calm the tensions in Jerusalem and the Holy Land – on the contrary.” However, the WJC president praised UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova for taking “a courageous stand by opposing this incendiary resolution” and thanked her for helping to remove a critical reference in it which would have declared the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish place of prayer, a Muslim site.

Lauder spoke with Bokova on the phone on Wednesday and expressed his appreciation for the UNESCO chief’s successful efforts in toning down what he called “unacceptable and inflammatory language” used in the original resolution text, including a reference to Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of Palestine.”

The proposal was sponsored by six Arab states (Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates) on behalf of the Palestinians and proposed to declare that the Western Wall should be considered by UNESCO as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On Tuesday, Bokova deplored the resolution and appealed to the UNESCO Executive to take decisions that do not further inflame the current tensions in Israel and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the holy sites, thus echoing the call of the World Jewish Congress. “We all have a responsibility to UNESCO’s mandate, to take decisions that promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” she declared in a statement.

The amended resolution was adopted by the UNESCO Executive Board in a vote of 26 in favor, six against and 25 abstentions. It confirms an earlier decision that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, two West Bank sites holy to both Jews and Muslims, are considered by UNESCO to be part of a State of Palestine. The text also condemns Israel for what it calls the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”

Ronald Lauder praised the six countries that voted against the resolution – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States – for taking a “principled stand.”

Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich and Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President of B’nai B’rith International issued the following statement:

“We praise the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States for voting against the resolution at the Executive Board session today.

This proposed policy, which would have been a systematic and undisguised erasure of Jewish national and religious history, was shameful and outrageous. While the redesignation of the Western Wall was left out, there are still many other egregious points contained in this resolution supported by many countries.

The resolution widely condemns Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians, never mentioning the murderous wave of terror attacks against Israel’s Jews that has left seven dead and 30 injured. It also accuses Israel of denying Muslims the right to worship at the Temple Mount and makes absurd complaints about, among other things, the construction of an elevator at the Western Wall.Furthermore, the UNESCO resolution recycled one of its rote motions that calls on Israel to change the designation of two Jewish holy sites—the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem—as Palestinian historical sites.

This is yet another blatant attempt by the Palestinians and a United Nations body to deny Jews their history and identity. We will continue to call attention to these issues to ensure that does not happen.”

President of the Zionist Federation of Australia Dr Danny Lamm added:  The original draft resolution submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board was a flagrant, factually false attempt to erase the Jewish people from the history of Jerusalem. Its attempt to redefine the Kotel as part of the al-Aqsa Mosque complex – in other words an Islamic holy site – was so outrageous that even UNESCO’s Director-General felt compelled to object. On 20 October Director-General Irina Bokova issued a statement of condemnation, urging that: ‘cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate’.

In the face of such withering criticism the authors of the original resolution – Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates  – beat a tactical retreat. But the revised version ultimately approved yesterday by the UNESCO Executive Board is only marginally less objectionable. The resolution’s authors retained an outrageous clause that falsely asserts exclusive Muslim ownership over two sites long held holy by the Jewish people – Rachel’s Tomb outside Beit Lechem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron.

With typical bias that verges on outright anti-Semitism, this reworded resolution retains a laundry list of false allegations intended to blacken Israel’s name and delegitimise the right of the Jewish people to national-self-determination. It also provides implicit support for the anti-Israel/anti-Jewish campaign of incitement coming from the highest echelons of the Palestinian Authority that has egged the current wave of Palestinian knife and shooting attacks.

The adoption of this disgraceful resolution by UNESCO’s Executive Committee simply serves as another milestone in the descent of the UN into ethical bankruptcy. It reflects the extent to which agencies of the United Nations have allowed their agendas to be hijacked by autocratic, anti-democratic regimes that have driven the entire UN system into a moral abyss.”



3 Responses to “Israel rejects UNESCO resolution”
  1. Jan Poddebsky says:

    UNESCO deligitimises itself-yet again. When will they be declaring the Vatican a Muslim holy site?

  2. Erica Edelman says:

    Do Egypt and the UAE really understand the
    Implication of their votes?
    I think not
    What the hell is Sisi thinking ?
    And the UAE ?
    The Wailing Wall? Unthinkable!
    Unbearable! Unlikely !
    A pivotal moment in history

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