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UNESCO Finalizes Resolution Denying Jewish Ties to Temple Mount

Western Wall, Courtesy GPO, Mark Neyman
Western Wall, Courtesy GPO, Mark Neyman

JERUSALEM, Israel – The UNESCO Executive Board's announcement that it would reexamine the resolution passed last week severing Jewish ties to the Temple Mount didn't amount to much. The board passed the resolution Tuesday.

The brief decision to reevaluate the resolution in part reflected Mexico's announcement to abstain rather than support the resolution.

In last week's vote, six nations opposed the resolution, 26 abstained, and 24 voted in favor, including Mexico.

On Thursday, then Mexican U.N. Ambassador Andres Roemer walked out during the vote in Paris. Roemer, who is Jewish, apparently could not support a resolution denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

Meanwhile on Sunday, outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized the vote, reaffirming the importance of the Old City to the "three monotheistic religions."

"The Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount – whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulcher church and the Mount of Olives, which is revered by Christians," Ban said in a statement.

In Israel, Education Minister Naftali Bennett suspended collaboration with UNESCO, warning that "severing Jerusalem from Israel" will ultimately harm the West.

"The Western world should stand against UNESCO and against rewarding terrorism," he said. "Just like you oppose Islamic terrorism in Aleppo and Tadmor, you must unite against diplomatic terror in Jerusalem. The next terrorist will be bolstered by this resolution. Severing Jerusalem from Israel will prompt a domino [effect] that will ultimately harm the Western world as a whole."

In a phone conversation on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told incoming U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres the decision "underscores the absurdity of the one-sided, biased approach the U.N. has to the only democracy in a turbulent, volatile sphere where millions of people are slaughtered and uprooted," Israel Hayom reported.

Even UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova criticized the resolution.

"In this microcosm of humanity's spiritual diversity, different peoples worship the same places, sometimes under different names," Bokova said in a statement Thursday.

The Palestinian Authority accused Bokova of caving into Israeli pressure. Earlier this year, acting P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas said Israeli Jews should not be allowed to "defile" the site with their "filthy feet."

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