by WorldTribune Staff, October 16, 2016
The U.S. should re-examine its backing of Israel after a UN agency denied any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority (PA) said.
UNESCO’s resolution maintains that the Western Wall and Temple Mount will be referred to by their Arabic names and the Hebrew terms for the sites will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “the UNESCO theater show goes on. Today it took a ridiculous decision denying the connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall. It’s like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids.”
The resolution was supported by 24 states, including Russia and China. Six countries opposed and 26 abstained.
The six countries that voted in support of Israel were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia.
The Oct. 13 resolution by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, sends a “clear message here to Israel that it must end the occupation and recognize a Palestinian state with [eastern] Jerusalem as its capital,” Nabil Abu-Rudeineh, spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, told Haaretz.
A separate statement from the PA’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret that “[a] few countries succumbed to the PR bullying orchestrated by Israel, which shifted the focus from Israel’s illegal and colonial actions in occupied East Jerusalem to issues irrelevant to the content and objectives of the resolutions.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that the UN has become “disconnected from reality and history.”
Knesset member Tzipi Livni sent a letter to UNESCO and to the director of the organization in which she expressed concern that the decision could lead to an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.
“UNESCO’s job is to preserve the heritage of the past and not to distort the future. Even if I have political differences with the government, there is no place for politics over the authentic historic connection of the Jewish people to Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” said Livni.
She added that “we have a joint responsibility to prevent the national conflict from deteriorating into a religious conflict – and this decision could cause just that.”