A pro-Israel organization is dispelling claims that Jerusalem is the "cultural heritage of Palestine" and that Israel is the "occupying power" in the capital city.
In an op-ed piece for Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel write that UNESCO's latest resolution, which denies Israel's claim to Jerusalem, is a "propaganda fiction."
"Clearly, the intention of the UNESCO resolution is to achieve internationally the direct repudiation of Israel's Jewish history and sovereignty in favor of Arab claims," they wrote.
"However, this clamor and fixation on Jerusalem, quite recent in Muslim history, has led many to conclude that Jerusalem is holy to Islam and central to Palestinian Arab consciousness," they added. "This is, however, a propaganda fiction."
Klein is the president of ZOA and Mandel serves as the director of the organization's center for Middle East policy.
The pair explains that although there are important Muslim shrines in the city, such as Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque, the Koran makes no mention of Jerusalem.
There are, however, a number of historical references that connect the city to Israel.
"Throughout the British Mandate period, the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council's publication, 'A Brief Guide to the Haram Al-Sharif', stated of Jerusalem's Temple Mount on p. 4, that 'Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute."
Klein and Mandel explain that after 1954 all references to the biblical temple were removed from the Jerusalem Muslim Supreme Council's publication.
They clarify that during Jordan's rule of the eastern half of Jerusalem from 1948-1967, Amman remained Jordan's capital, not Jerusalem.
"Historically, Jerusalem under Muslim control was no more a capital city than Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia or Qom in Iran," they wrote.
Klein and Mandel said Jewish history is full of references to Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem, the capital of the biblical Jewish kingdoms, is the site of three millennia of Jewish habitation — hence the 'Jerusalem 3000' celebrations initiated in by the government of Yitzhak Rabin," they wrote.
"The holiest of Judaism's four holy cities, Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Hebrew Bible and alluded to in countless prayers. Major Jewish rituals, including the conclusion of the Passover Seder and Yom Kippur service, end with the age-old affirmation, 'Next year in Jerusalem,'" they explained.
"Whatever form a final peace settlement might one day take, there is no morally just or legally sound reason inflate or fabricate Muslim claims while denying Jerusalem's Jewish primacy and history," the pair wrote.