The United Nations cultural and heritage body, UNESCO, passed a resolution on Thursday denied a resolution that rules out any Jewish historic links to the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
UNESCO has denied the importance of the site to the Jewish faith by referring to it and the al-Aqsa mosque only by their Muslim names.
The resolution condemned Israel for restricting Muslims access to the site, and for aggression by police and soldiers. It also recognised Israel as the occupying power.
Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is the third-holiest site in Islam. It is located in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed following its invasion in 1967 – in a move never recognised by the international community – as part of its subsequent military occupation of the West Bank.
Jewish settlers and Zionist organisations have called for complete Jewish control over the mosque compound.
Jewish groups refer to the site as the “Temple Mount” and their increased incursions into the mosque compound have continuously led to Palestinian protests across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, which was put forward by Palestine along with Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, was approved by 24 members of the 58-member organization. Twenty-six countries abstained from voting while only six countries voted against it, two other countries were missing from the vote, according to the Haaretz newspaper.
The United States, Britain, Germany, Holland, Lithuania and Estonia voted against the resolution, while none of the European states supported the motion following diplomatic efforts by Israeli diplomats. The draft resolution acknowledges Jerusalem to be a holy city for Muslims, Christians and Jewish people, but says the Temple Mount is sacred only to Muslims. In April, UNESCO’s executive board released and then adopted a similar resolution, calling Israel “the Occupying Power” and urging it to “stop all violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is one of the holy sites of the Temple Mount complex. A total of 33 countries voted for the resolution.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said in a statement on Thursday that UNESCO has lost its legitimacy by adopting this resolution.
“The theatre of the absurd at UNESCO continues and today the organisation adopted another delusional decision which says that the people of Israel have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” he said.
Source: Sputnik News and the Guardian