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October 21, 2015

Update: UNESCO to Consider Designating Kotel as Part of Al-Aqsa

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The Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is expected to take up a draft resolution prepared by the Palestinian Authority that would designate the Western Wall, or Kotel HaMa’aravi, as part of al-Aqsa Mosque, the tomb of Rachel as the burial place of Bilal Ibn Rabah, a companion of Islam's prophet, Mohammed, and declare the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Muslim shrine and part of "Palestine." This matter may go to the full UNESCO plenum, where "Palestine," which has no established boundaries, no government in control of its population or other attributes of a sovereign country, is a recognized member state. As in all matters before committees at the United Nations, the overwhelming pro-Arab -- or, more to the point, anti-Israel -- majority guarantees passage of proposals that are utterly without merit and often, as in this case, simultaneously ludicrous and outrageous.

For years, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have denied the existence of the First and Second Temples and attempted to expunge any Jewish -- and therefore key Christian -- connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites. Last month, Abbas declared that the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre “are ours”. This historical revisionism and attempted religious suppression is an affront to Jews and Christians alike as these sites are central to both religions. Furthermore, rather than protecting holy sites, Palestinian groups have been desecrating and destroying them, including Rachel’s Tomb, Joseph’s Tomb and the Church of the Nativity.

Some Arab and Muslim representatives long have decried non-existent attempts to "Judaize" Jerusalem. The archaeological evidence of Judaism's deep connection to the holy city are everywhere and the Hebrew Bible mentions Jerusalem or its synonym, Zion, hundreds of times, the Koran not at all. But this very real and sinister movement to de-Judaize Jerusalem, and thereby implicitly deny Christianity's attachment to some of its holy places, should not be promoted by any nation or international body. Rather, it should be condemned. Passage of such a proclamation would only legitimize the bloodthirsty incitement perpetuated by Palestinian leaders through public statements, media reports, sermons and television shows. This incitement is the cause of the surge in violence against Jews sweeping Israel and the resultant self-defense measures being undertaken there. Any nation or group that claims to promote peace and understanding must reject this resolution.

For more information on the history of Jerusalem and its connection to the three monotheistic religions, please click here.

Update: According to Times of Israel:

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, confirmed to Israel Radio Wednesday that the Palestinian delegation had proposed a new version of the controversial resolution, removing the clause that would have declared the Western Wall a Muslim site.

[…]

The resolution... still contains a request to recognize Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as Muslim sites. Israeli diplomats said they would continue to fight the resolution, and try to get allied states to reject it.

Update #2: Arutz Sheva reports the revised resolution has passed:

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) passed a resolution Wednesday listing the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as Muslim sites.

Posted by SC at October 21, 2015 07:02 AM

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