Why The UNESCO Vote Is A Victory For Israel


JERUSALEM

HAARETZ – Contrary to Israeli claims, the document isn’t a declaration as to the rightful owner of Temple Mount and its surroundings, or as to which religion has sacred claim to the site and its wall. The resolution is about determining how to maintain and nurture a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO (…) 

The U.S., it stands to be noted, stopped playing a role in UNESCO after Congress decided, under pressure from the Israel lobby, to stop funding any UN agency that will accept Palestine as a member. It is likely that if the U.S. retained its power in the agency, Israel could have gotten a better resolution. 

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HAARETZ – Israeli politicians rushed to condemn the resolution adopted by the UN’s education, science and culture agency on Thursday with regard to the Temple Mount. The bulk of the criticism touched on the motion’s terminology and was largely justified. But a close reading of the resolution shows that in fact, it includes a few positive revisions from the last such resolution passed by UNESCO. More importantly, it calls on Israel to enter negotiations with Jordan and the Palestinians to improve the situation on Temple Mount for everyone involved.

Contrary to Israeli claims, the document isn’t a declaration as to the rightful owner of Temple Mount and its surroundings, or as to which religion has sacred claim to the site and its wall. The resolution is about determining how to maintain and nurture a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO. The agency has set rules for the preservation of Jerusalem’s Old City, and these rules are being violated, according to the writers of the document.

Israel is recognized by international law as an occupier, so the document’s repeated reference to Israel as such shouldn’t raise eyebrows. However, the terminology does have a clear slant toward the Islamic narrative. For example, the term Western Wall appears in quotes throughout the document, while the Arabic term for the site, Al-Burak, does not. The document refers to the Temple Mount by its Arabic names, Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa, while making no mention of its Jewish names.

But the first achievement for Israel comes early in the document. In section 3, UNESCO’s executive board affirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” The implication is that Judaism is one of the three religions that consider Jerusalem’s Old City holy. This assertion does not exist in the previous version of the resolution that UNESCO approved in April. 

A comparison of the two versions shows that one section is missing from the new text – section 14, which accuses Israel of damaging the assets of the Muslim religious trust, the Waqf, outside Temple Mount. The section that was eliminated alleged that Israel has planted fake Jewish graves inside a Muslim cemetery and harmed remains from the Umayyad and Byzantine periods in favor of Jewish prayer sites and ritual baths.

Two additional sections have undergone changes. A condemnation of attacks on members of the Waqf was added to section 8, in light of recent clashes between police and the organization on Temple Mount and around it. And section 10 now condemns the entrance of Israel Antiques Authority officials to structures on the mount.

Section 16 condemns Israeli projects that alter the mount’s surroundings, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s plan to build a cable car system in the East Jerusalem area of Silwan and the Mount of the Olives, a plan to build a large visitor center in Silwan, the construction of a major office building in the Western Wall plaza and the installation of an elevator between the wall and the Jewish quarter. 

But the most important part is section 7, which appeared in the previous version and calls on Israel to restore the “historic Status Quo” that existed on the Temple Mount until September 2000. That month, then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon ascended to Temple Mount and the second intifada broke out, prompting Israel to halt non-Muslim visits to the site for three years. The visits were renewed in 2003 unilaterally, without the Waqf’s consent and without allowing visitors to enter mosques. Jordan has been pressing Israel for some time now to restore the status quo, under which non-Muslims would be allowed to enter the Mount from three gates, instead of just one, and would be allowed to buy tickets to enter the local mosques. Many Israeli figures are in favor of the move. The belief is that mosque ticket sales would give the Waqf financial incentive to maintain order on the Mount. 

Israel can also console itself with the fact that the European members of UNESCO did not vote in favor of the resolution. These states made efforts behind the scenes to moderate the motion, which was written by Jordan and supported by Arab states. The aforementioned section 14, for example, was eliminated in part due to pressure from France. 

The U.S., it stands to be noted, stopped playing a role in UNESCO after Congress decided, under pressure from the Israel lobby, to stop funding any UN agency that will accept Palestine as a member. It is likely that if the U.S. retained its power in the agency, Israel could have gotten a better resolution. 

Ultimately, the UNESCO motion isn’t unusual in the face of the international dialogue on Jerusalem and the holy sites. Even if most Israelis and the government refuse to accept it, Jerusalem’s Old City and its holy sites, just like Hebron and Nablus, are considered to be occupied territory by international law, all international organizations and each member of the UN. 

Within this framework, recognizing Jewish links to holy sites in Jerusalem has become a pawn in the Palestinian struggle. So if the Israeli government finds it so important that the world recognize this link, it must sit down and talk to the Palestinians – the exact thing it is avoiding. Israel’s continued disregard of this reality is the true backdrop to Israeli politicians’ desperate cries.

He called for her to be screened ahead of their final televised duel Wednesday in Las Vegas.

“I don’t know what is going on with her. At the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning. At the end, it was like, take me down, she could barely reach her car.”

“Athletes, they make them take a drug test. I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. Why don’t we do that?”

‘Undermine election’

As the Manhattan billionaire tanks in the polls, he has spent the last week claiming the media and a “global elite” is working against him, and that Clinton had plotted to destroy the sovereignty of the United States.

“Either we win this election or we lose this country,” he told supporters in New Hampshire.

“I really believe this is the last chance we have to win. I really believe it. Not going to happen again.”

A Donald Trump supporter wears a Hillary for Prison t-shirt during a rally at Toyota Of Portsmouth on October 15, 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images/AFP)

A Donald Trump supporter wears a Hillary for Prison t-shirt during a rally on October 15, 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images/AFP)

The Clinton camp issued an immediate response, accusing Trump of seeking to erode public faith in the November 8 vote.

“Campaigns should be hard-fought and elections hard-won, but what is fundamental about the American electoral system is that it is free, fair and open to the people,” her campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 (AFP/ Paul J. Richards)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 (AFP/ Paul J. Richards)

“This election will have record turnout, because voters see through Donald Trump’s shameful attempts to undermine an election weeks before it happens.”

The virulence of Trump’s attacks on the Clinton camp have raised concerns about whether the real estate mogul would even acknowledge a defeat, and how his legions of fired-up supporters would react should he lose.

President Barack Obama echoed those concerns at a campaign rally Friday.

“This is somebody who… is now suggesting that if the election doesn’t go his way, it’s not because of all the stuff he’s said, but it’s because it’s rigged and it’s a fraud,” Obama said.

“You don’t start complaining about the refs before the game’s even done. You just play the game, right?”

  1. #1 by rehmat1 on 10/16/2016 - 7:18 am

    American archaeologist and author, Professor Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002) had conducted archaeology work in East jerusalem. In his controversial book ‘The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot’, published in 1999 – Dr. Martin claimed that Muslim sacred places, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock are not built on top of the Temple Mount ruins.

    Several other historians in the past had made similar conclusion that the 45-acre landmass known as Haram al-Sharif to the Muslim world since 638 CE – is in fact a Roman fortress built by King Herold and the Jewish holy Wailing Wall (the Western Wall) had never been part of the second Temple of Solomon destroyed in 70 CE.

    British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered in 1962 that the entire City of David in the past had been only that little rock ridge on the western bank of the Kidron Valley. In early 1970s, Professor Benjamin Mazar, former President of Hebrew University too, confirmed that Haram al-Sharif was indeed a Roman fortress.

    According to Dr. Martin, the two Hebrew Temples in fact were built a fourth of mile south over Gihon Spring. Martin identifies the Haram al-Sharif as the remaining Fort Antonia, which Herold named after Mark Anthony. Martin shows how Haram al-Sharif was comparable in size and water supply to other Roman fortresses built to guard Roman occupied cities. Martin quotes Bible (2 Sam 6:17, 1 Kg 1:38-39, Ps 46: 3, 4; 87:1-2, 7) to prove his theory.

    Dr. Martin claims that the so-called ‘Western Wall’ is a myth Christian Zionists created 350 years ago in order to hasten the second coming of Christ.

    https://rehmat1.com/2011/08/12/the-%E2%80%98wailing-wall%E2%80%99-is-not-jewish/

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