UNESCO Approves Resolution Denying Israeli Claims to Jerusalem

On the day that Israel celebrated its Independence Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization approved a resolution that denies Israel’s claims to Jerusalem.
A man sits near the Dome of the Rock located on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City May 29, 2015. Picture taken May 29, 2015. Reuters/Ammar Awad

On the day that Israel celebrated its Independence Day, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization approved a resolution that denies Israel's claims to Jerusalem.

The resolution was passed with a vote of 22 in favor of the resolution, 10 opposing and 23 abstaining, the Times of Israel reported.

Those who voted against were the U.S., U.K., Germany, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Togo, Paraguay, Greece, Lithuania and Italy. Three member countries were absent.

The resolution, 'Item 30: Occupied Palestine,' does not acknowledge Israel's legal or historical ties with Jerusalem and rejects its sovereignty over the city.

While the resolution reaffirms "the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions," it refers to Israel as the "occupying power."

"All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the 'basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith," the resolution demanded.

It further cited Israel's "failure" to stop its "illegal" and "persistent" construction work, such as excavations and the building of tunnels, in East Jerusalem.

The resolution also said Israel should remove its blockade of the Gaza Strip because it "harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items."

Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, wearing the country's flag around his shoulders, said Israel will stay in its eternal capital despite the resolution's approval.

"Even now, after this miserable vote, this blue and white flag is flying high above the Temple Mount and throughout Israel's eternal capital city, Jerusalem, waving in the wind, saying to all 'here we are, and we are here to stay,'" Shama-Hacohen said, according to the Times of Israel.

Danny Danon, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N., called the resolution "shameful," "biased" and "blatantly deceitful."

"This biased and blatantly deceitful decision, and the attempts to dispute the connection between Israel and Jerusalem, will not change the simple fact that this city is the historic and eternal capital of the Jewish people," Danon said. "Israel will not stand silently by in the face of this shameful resolution."

Israel has cut its U.N. budget by another $1 million because of UNESCO's approval of the resolution, making its deductions to the U.N. budget reach a total of $9 million.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered in December that $6 million be deducted from the budget when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334. He also asked the budget to be cut by another $2 million in March when the UNHRC approved five anti-Israel resolutions.

"This systematic harassment has a price," Netanyahu said. "Israel will not sit by while the organization calls for the denial of our sovereignty in Jerusalem."

He said the deducted amount will be transferred to Israel's Foreign Ministry and will be used to develop relations "with countries that want to be close to Israel."

Last week, U.S. senators wrote a strongly worded letter urging the United Nations to end its anti-Israel bias. The letter was signed by all 100 senators.

Tags : UNESCO resolution on Temple Mount, UNESCO resolutions denying Israel ties to Temple Mount, Old City of Jerusalem, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Item 30: Occupied Palestine, Benjamin Netanyahu, UN anti-Israel, UN anti-Israel bias, UNESCO, UN, UNESCO anti-Israel, UN resolutions against Israel