UNESCO adopts controversial Jerusalem resolution

UNESCO adopts controversial Jerusalem resolution

UNESCO's executive board on Tuesday approved a resolution that Israel says denies the deep historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem - and that has angered Israel's government and many Jews around the world.

While the draft proposal asserts that Jerusalem is sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, a special clause dealing with the Temple Mount states the site is sacred only to Muslims and fails to mention that it is sacred to Jews, as well.

The board reportedly formally approved the resolution on Tuesday morning in the final day of its meeting in Paris.

The situation stems from an October 12 resolution that was passed by UNESCO's executive board, comprising representatives from 58 states.

Israel froze ties with UNESCO last week when the resolution, which was entitled "Occupied Palestine", was passed at the draft stage. Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, even called the vote a victory for Israel.

The director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, also Friday signaled her dismay and opposition to the motion, saying that efforts to deny history and Jerusalem's complex multi-faith character harm UNESCO.

Momani told The Jordan Times earlier this week that Jordan is proud to be the Muslim and Arab country that spearheads efforts to protect the holy shrines in Jerusalem, urging the worldwide community to support the enforcement of global law and to bring an end to Israeli occupation.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque - the third-holiest place in Islam, after Mecca and Medina - and the iconic 7th-century Dome of the Rock also rest atop this disputed esplanade.

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The official said that Israel has to bow to global law and resolutions; meanwhile, Jordan will continue its efforts to maintain the historic status quo of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.

The resolution slammed the Tel Aviv regime for hampering Muslims' freedom of worship by "escalating aggression and illegal measures" regarding the holy site, Press TV reported.

Deputy Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, Mounir Anastas, welcomed the decision on Tuesday.

In 2011 the Palestinians were admitted as a member state of the organisation, which led the United States to suspend its payments to Unesco.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

One particular point on contention has been the measure calling the holy site only by the Muslim name of Haram al-Sharif and not the Jewish name, the Temple Mount.

Still, Bennett, who serves as president of Israel's National Commission for UNESCO, said Tuesday that the latest developments could lead him to reverse the decision. The resolution was sponsored by a group of seven Arab states.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel will continue diplomatic efforts on the issue "and expects all relevant states to support its position on this matter". The approach is to denounce violations of worldwide accords and especially Haram Al-Sharf, which were committed - according to the United Nations body - by Israel concerning the historic Status Quo of the location, which is officially under Jordanian jurisdiction.

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