Wednesday, October 21, 2015

UNESCO Condemns Israeli 'Aggression' On Temple Mount, Israel Slams UNESCO Vote, Mess With Western Wall, Mess With Israel

UNESCO condemns Israeli 'aggression' on Temple Mount

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization passed a resolution Wednesday condemning ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and elsewhere in Jerusalem’s Old City. The resolution proposal had originally sought to name the Western Wall a Muslim religious site, but Arab states struck that demand from the draft earlier in the day.

t also condemned the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”

Twenty-six UNESCO representatives voted in favor of the resolution, six voted against, and twenty-five abstained.

The resolution also recognized Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as Muslim sites.

The vote came hours after the Arab states withdrew their demand that UNESCO declare the Western Wall an “integral part” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Palestinians allege that a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent weeks against Israeli civilians and security personnel stems from Israel’s attempts to change the arrangements at the Temple Mount, where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray. Israel has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The UK voted against the new resolution, despite the Palestinians’ removal of the most controversial segment. “The language is unacceptable, and we don’t think it’s helpful to bring in a provocative motion at times of tensions,” a British official said. “We regret that there wasn’t more time to discuss the motion.”
On Tuesday, the head of UNESCO said she “deplored” the proposal. The move, Irina Bokova warned on the agency’s website, “could be seen to alter the status of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls and incite further tensions.”
The executive board had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on the resolution, but Bokova postponed the vote until Wednesday.

In a statement, Bokova called on the UNESCO board “to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”

“The United Nations and all its institutions have a responsibility to work against any escalation of the conflict. UNESCO must reject any attempt to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount,” he said.

Israel said Monday that it is working to thwart a Palestinian bid to have the Western Wall in Jerusalem declared a Muslim holy site by the UN’s cultural body in a vote on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called the proposal “an attempt to distort history and blur the connection between the Jewish people and its holiest place and to create a false reality.”

The Western Wall is one of the few remnants of the ancient retaining wall that held up an artificial plateau on which a refurbished Second Temple stood in the reign of King Herod the Great. The Temple and much of the wall were later destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.

For Jews, who are forbidden from praying on the Temple Mount by Israeli regulations, the Western Wall is the prayer site closest to the ancient site of the Holy of Holies inside the destroyed Temple. It is considered the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray.
According to Muslim tradition, the Temple Mount is where Mohammad tied the winged animal Buraq, which he rode on the night he ascended to heaven. Atop it lies the Dome of the Rock — a Muslim shrine — and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The proposal to recognize the adjoining Western Wall as a Muslim holy site was submitted by six Muslim countries on behalf of the Palestinians, according to a Ynet news report.

The proposal also calls for the international community to condemn Israel for urging “its citizens to bear arms in light of [the] recent terror wave,” as well as for recent actions by Israel and the Israel Defense Forces in Jerusalem. The document, a copy of which was obtained by Ynet, refers to Jerusalem as “the occupied capital of Palestine.”

In addition, the Palestinians seek condemnation of ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as of the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely denounced the bid on Monday.
“This shameful and deceitful Palestinian attempt to rewrite history will fail the test of reality,” Hotovely said.
The Likud lawmaker said her ministry is making every effort to see that the bid is voted down by UNESCO on Tuesday.

The head of a messianic Jewish ministry warns that a United Nations agency is meddling with a sacred site in Israel that Israelis will fight and die for.
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, is set to vote today on a resolution that declares the so-called Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, belongs to Muslims.
"None of it belongs to the Muslims," declares Jan Markell, who heads Olive Tree Ministries.
The Western Wall, located in Jerusalem, is all that remains of the Second Temple that's located on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount, along with the Western Wall, are the holiest sites in Judaism.
The UNESCO resolution, The New York Times reports, was submitted by Arab countries and claims the Western Wall is a Muslim holy site.

The Jerusalem Post reports the draft was submitted by Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
The chairman of UNESCO has denounced the resolution, the Times reported.
The ongoing violence in Israel was sparked by riots around the Temple Mount, and Markell says the UN resolution could "spark a war" if the Arab countries try to push for control over the Western Wall. 
"I guarantee you the Israelis will not take this sitting down or lying down," she tells OneNewsNow.
She notes that the Western Wall is important to Christians, too, who often visit the site when they visit Jerusalem. 

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