Palestinians: UNESCO vote proves Israel’s Jerusalem narrative false

Hamas spokesman claims resolution asserts rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry states decision is “sad, needless and pathetic”.

July 6, 2017 06:30
1 minute read.
dome of the rock temple mount

The Dome of the Rock is seen during sunset on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

UNESCO has proved that Israel’s narrative with regard to Jerusalem is false, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas said on Wednesday after the World Heritage Committee disavowed Israeli sovereignty over the city.

Hamas spokesman Abudllatif al-Qanoun, in a statement to the press, claimed that UNESCO’s resolution demolishes the false Israeli narrative and asserts the Palestinian right in Jerusalem and al-Aksa Mosque.

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PA spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud made a similar statement to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Mahmoud called on the international community to “enforce these decisions on the ground in order to lift injustice, oppression and domination practiced by the occupying power against our steadfast people in the city of Jerusalem and against its Islamic and Christian holy places.”

The resolution also took issue with Israeli “executions” in and around Jerusalem’s Old City as well as Israel’s “failure” to allow a UNESCO monitoring team to visit Jerusalem.

The 21-member World Heritage Committee on Tuesday approved the resolution 10-3 with abstentions as part of its annual affirmation of Jerusalem’s Old City and its walls on its list of World Heritage in Danger.

It operates under the auspices of UNESCO and is meeting from July 2 to 12 in Krakow, Poland.

The Foreign Ministry said the decision was “sad, needless and pathetic” and lacked a majority.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and no UNESCO decision can change that,” the ministry said.

“Nothing is more disgraceful than UNESCO declaring the world’s only Jewish state the ‘occupier’ of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Old City,” said Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. “No faux ‘heritage committee’ can sever the bonds between our people and Jerusalem.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “UNESCO’s repeated fake claims do not change the Jewish connection to Jerusalem or reality on the ground.”

As head of Israel’s UNESCO Committee, he had already decided to cut Israel’s professional ties to the organization in response to past votes.

Israel and UNESCO do maintain professional ties.

“Instead of protecting hundreds of sites destroyed by radical Islam, including the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, UNESCO is acting against the only Middle Eastern country safeguarding all holy sites and granting worshipers religious freedom,” Bennett said.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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