Monday, October 17, 2016

Israel's wrath at UNESCO resolution on Holy Sites

A new battle front has opened around  Jerusalem’s Holy Sites in the conflict between the Israeli authorities and UNESCO, the UN organization for education, science and culture.
 
Last Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized two draft resolutions submitted and approved at first reading on "occupied Palestine", stressing that the agency "has also lost the little legitimacy that it had left”.

The commission yesterday adopted the documents, presented recently by seven Arab nations, with 24 votes in favor, six against, 26 abstentions and two absent. For final approval, however, it will need the green light of the Executive Council; the vote is scheduled for October 18th.

The resolutions are intended "to safeguard the Palestinian cultural heritage and distinctive character of East Jerusalem", the Palestinian part of the city was occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967.

These terms, together with the definition of Israel as an "occupying force", are the same as a document adopted last April and that he had already raised the criticism of Israel, because it denied "the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount ".
The resolution refers to Temple Mount by its Arabic name and contains a "long list" of "violations" committed by Israel in the area of the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third most holy site after Mecca and Medina. The text denounces the "persistent excavation works" promoted by Israel in East Jerusalem, especially in the Old City, and the lack of "free access" to the mosque.


"To deny the link between the Temple Mount and the Kotel [the Western Wall, also known as the "Wailing wall"] - said Netanyahu – is the same as saying that the Chinese do not have a link with the Great Wall or the Egyptians with the pyramids". 

Speaker of Israeli parliament Yuli Edelstein, said that "if the Jews are not tied to the holy places, UNESCO and the UN have no connection with the history and reality."

Diplomatic sources explain that in the draft resolution approved yesterday speaks of "the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls with regards all three great monotheistic religions." Meanwhile, Palestine has welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which reflects "the commitment of the majority of Member States to the UNESCO principles."

In a statement released in recent weeks, the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova pointed out that the historical and cultural heritage of Jerusalem "is indivisible" and that each of the communities "have the right to the explicit recognition of their history and connection with the city".

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