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UNESCO Passes Second Resolution Denying Jewish Ties to Temple Mount, Christian Leaders Denounce Decision

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) voted on Wednesday to approve a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
An aerial view shows the Dome of the Rock (R) on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, and the Western Wall (L) in Jerusalem's Old City October 10, 2006.
Reuters/Eliana Aponte

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) voted on Wednesday to approve a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

The decision comes at the heels of a similar resolution being passed last week.

Of the 21-member World Heritage Committee, 10 countries voted, by secret ballot, in favor of the resolution, eight abstained, two voted against and one was absent, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The countries that voted for the resolution were: Turkey, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Indonesia, Angola, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam and Cuba.

Those who abstained were Finland, Poland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Portugal, South Korea, Burkina Faso and Croatia.

The two countries that opposed the resolution were Tanzania and the Philippines.

The resolution, called “The Old City of Jerusalem and Its Walls,” orders Israel to stop its excavations in and near the Old City and denies Israel’s historical ties with the site.

The World Heritage Committee agreed to keep the walled area where the Jewish holy sites are found on the list of endangered world heritage sites. The resolution also emphasized Israel’s refusal to allow the committee access to its holy sites in order to assess them.

The resolution refers to the Temple Mount by its Arab name, sparking controversy.

Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO Elias Sanbar claimed Israel wants “to put politics in religion.”

“This is the most dangerous thing that is happening now in UNESCO. They are politicizing religion and this is very dangerous,” he told the Associated Press.

Carmel Shama-Hacohen, the Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, threw a copy of the resolution in a garbage bin labeled “history” in protest of the body’s decision.

“This is yet another absurd resolution against the State of Israel, the Jewish people and historical truth,” he said, according to The Times of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution “harms” the United Nations.

"What needs to be understood, and it will take time, is that this absurdity, which harms not only the historical truth and the truth of the present, but also harms in my opinion the U.N. itself," Netanyahu said, according to the Associated Press.

A group of Christian leaders from The Philos Project released a statement denouncing the resolution that denies “historically evidenced Christian and Jewish heritage in Jerusalem.”

"The Philos Project strongly urges UNESCO to oppose this resolution, which ignores Jewish and Christian claims to Jerusalem," Robert Nicholson, the group’s executive director, said. "UNESCO was created to bring nations together through culture, not to deny certain cultures for political reasons. Peace in the Middle East will live or die on mutual respect between peoples. Now more than ever, Christians and Jews must stand together in opposition of this attempt to rewrite history."

Last week, UNESCO approved at committee stage a resolution saying the Western Wall and the Temple Mount are not linked with the Jews.

Tags : UNESCO, UNESCO resolution on Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and Its Walls, World Heritage Committee, Benjamin Netanyahu, Elias Sanbar, The Philos Project, Temple Mount, Western Wall, Carmel Shama-Hacohen