UNESCO Adopts ‘Occupied Palestine’ Resolution

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Following Mexico’s withdrawal of its intention yesterday to force a re-vote one day before the close of proceedings, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has adopted its controversial “Occupied PalestineResolution (Tuesday, October 18 2016).

Under pressure from Western states, Mexico backed away from its initial intention to call for a re-vote, after having taken issue with the resolution referring to Jerusalem holy sites only by their Islamic names. Western states were concerned that Mexico taking such action could lead to future calls for re-votes on future resolutions already voted on and passed by consensus. Instead, Mexico noted for the record that its position on the matter was one of abstention, but its revised position does not change the vote’s count.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its web site that it had abstained in recognition of the “undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.

In a surprising move today, Brazil spoke at the final board session, indicating that it was unlikely to support such resolutions in the future.

After ratification of the resolution, the Jerusalem Post reports that Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen said:

“We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.

The best surprise of the morning is Brazil’s notification that while it did not change its vote this time, it will find it difficult not to do, if there is a resolution with another text that disregards the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.”

UNESCO’s Denial of the Jewish Connection to the Temple Mount

The “Occupied PalestineResolution is the latest of such measures taken by UNESCO – where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters, and a body that admitted the ‘Palestinians’ as members in 2011.

This latest resolution was put forth by the ‘Palestinians‘, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan and was passed with 24 votes in favour, six against and 26 abstentions. It follows close on the heels of a similar one passed by UNESCO April 16 2016, which condemned “Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslim access to the al-Aqsa Mosque” and which referred to the Temple Mount site by only its Arabic names.

Like the UNESCO resolution passed in April, the “Occupied PalestineResolution also refers to the Temple Mount site only by the site’s Muslim name, al-Haram al Sharif (Arabic for “the Noble Sanctuary”) and to the Western Wall (the remaining outer wall of the Second Temple) only as al-Buraq Plaza and by doing so, effectively denies the Jewish connection to both the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

Last Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said;

“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China and that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. With this absurd decision, UNESCO lost the little legitimization it had left.”

‘Palestinian Demands’

Today, ‘Palestinians’ deputy ambassador to UNESCO, Mounir Anastas told Al-Jazeera that the resolution;

“reminds Israel that they are the occupying power in East Jerusalem and it asks them to stop all their violations, including archaeological excavations around religious sites.

The ‘Palestinians’ want excavations halted outside Temple Mount  complex, where monumental structures including the city gate, towers and part of the city wall of Jerusalem built by King Solomon during the 10th century BC have been uncovered.

[For more on this important archaeological dig, please see: http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/05/21/king-solomons-wall-discovered-outside-2nd-temple-wall/]

Historic Facts and Dates

The Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site is where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood, and is located in the Old City section of Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel.

The First Temple (also called Solomon’s Temple) stood on the Temple Mount from 827 BC until it was destroyed by the Babylonians 470 years later. The Second Temple stood on the Temple Mount from 349 BC, until it was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Prior to the arrival of the Romans, the Jewish people were politically independent and were governed by self-rule for ~80 years under the Hasmonean (Maccabean) Dynasty, beginning in ~167 BCE.

The first time an Arab government ruled in Jerusalem was in the sixth century AD with the rise of Islam, ~700 years after the Hasmonean Dynasty.

The Temple Mount complex (called ‘al-Haram al Sharif’, in Arabic) is considered the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The golden topped Dome of the Rock mosque was built in 691 CE, with the smaller al-Aqsa mosque built ~20 years later. 

The Jewish Temples stood on the Temple Mount ~1500 years before the Arabs first arrived in Jerusalem in the 6th century AD with the advent of Islam.

Final Thoughts…

UNESCO’s “Occupied PalestineResolution denies history, but does not change history.