UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, on Tuesday formally approved a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The resolution was adopted at the committee stage last week, and has now been approved by UNESCO’s executive body.
The resolution, put forth by numerous Arab states, refers to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemned Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both sites.
The resolution prompted Israel to suspend all ties with the cultural body, and has received condemnation worldwide. On Wednesday, MPs in the Czech Republic overwhelmingly voted in a motion to denounce the resolution, stating that it reflected a “hateful, anti-Israel” sentiment. 119 of the 149 lawmakers present approved a strongly worded protest against the step.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova distanced herself from the resolution in a statement, saying “nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space”.
The official text of the resolution failed to acknowledge Judaism’s links to the Temple Mount, the religion’s holiest site for over three thousand years. It accuses Israel of “escalating aggressions and illegal measures… against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures”.
In response, terror group Hamas called the UNESCO vote “a victory for the Palestinian people”.
Leader of Israeli centrist party Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, wrote an article published in the Times of Israel, entitled “How UNESCO erases history”. Click here to read the article.
24 countries at UNESCO voted in favour of the resolution, which was put forward by the Palestinian delegation with the support of several Arab countries including Egypt, Lebanon and Algeria, while six voted against and 26 abstained. The UK, together with the US, voted against the resolution.
CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE and CFI Executive Director James Gurd, said: “UNESCO’s vote to deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount is an affront to both history and the Jewish community worldwide. The UK’s principled vote against this deplorable motion deserves praise and we hope that the UK will impress upon its international partners how unacceptable this move is”.