JERUSALEM (JTA) — A UNESCO resolution does not recognize a Jewish connection to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount and calls Israel an “occupying power.”
The resolution was adopted Friday by the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization resolution at a meeting in Paris.
Six months after the organization decided not to classify the Western Wall as a solely Muslim site, the measure refers to the Western Wall as Al-Buraq Plaza and to the Temple Mount as the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif.
The resolution, which condemns Israeli actions in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, accuses Israel of being an “occupying power,” of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and of “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places,” according to Israeli newspaper reports.
It also criticizes Israel for its decision to build an egalitarian prayer area in the Western Wall Plaza and for “illegal measures against the freedom of worship” at the “Muslim holy site of worship.” The resolutions refers to the cities of Hebron and Bethlehem as solely Muslim, and raps Israeli control over the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, both in Hebron.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the resolution.
“This is yet another absurd U.N. decision,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued Saturday night. “UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The U.N. is rewriting a basic part of human history and has once again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.”