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Trump and Clinton blast UNESCO statement on Jerusalem

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Israel is clashing with a United Nations body tasked with honoring heritage sites after it passed a draft resolution harshly critical of Israel as the “occupying power” over Jerusalem, and both US presidential campaigns joined in rejection.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed especially harsh words yesterday, dubbing the document submitted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as “delusional.” The group failed to mention by name the Temple Mount, a sacred site in Judaism believed to be located inside of the walls of the Noble Sanctuary, a religious plaza in the Old City that shelters the al-Aqsa mosque.

“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs released the type of barb it has frequently employed in recent months when faced with a political scuffle: a tongue and cheek video, in this case blasting the United Nations. In the clip a man with an English accent reads aloud from the Christian bible, replacing the words “Temple court” with “Haram al-Sharif/al-Aqsa mosque,” and wincing with each mention.

To an outsider, the messaging may seem confused. The video’s intended audience, American Christians, would recognize it as a jab at the United Nations for using the preferred Arabic or Muslim jargon to describe the religious complex in the Old City in their resolution, and not the terms favored by the Israeli government or many streams of Christianity, the “Temple Mount.”

While none of the phrases used by UNESCO innately negates the heritage of other religions to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, Israel views it as a word torpedo aimed at Judaism’s connection to Jerusalem. So do the Trump and Clinton camps, and the U.S. government, which voted against it.

The Trump campaign said, “The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the U.N.”

“It’s outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount,” Clinton advisor Laura Rosenberger told the JTA.

The two-page document submitted yesterday by UNESCO’s board outlined a series of allegations against Israel, charging it for destruction to the ancient plaza. The brief narrowed in on Israeli programs that harm Muslim holy sites, including construction and excavations in areas of Muslim shrines, army damage to mosques in the religious complex, tourism ventures in East Jerusalem, “segregated roads” in the West Bank and the denial of a visa for a UN monitor.

The text was not without mentions of Judaism and Christianity, the areas of contention for Israel, Trump, and Clinton.

UNESCO included a paragraph stating the “importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” In a later section it stated the Christian and Jewish connection to heritage sites in the Bethlehem area. There is no specific mention of the Temple Mount or any explicit note of unique Jewish ties to the Old City.

However, UNESCO was quick to reply that the resolution is a rough draft and will likely be significantly altered come Tuesday, according to an official with the body in Paris. The official then directed Mondoweiss to a video statement by Michael Worbs, the chairperson of UNESCO, who said he does understand the Israeli frustration. “I understand this perception,” he said, but Jewish and Christian considerations were made. 

“[B]ut [we] have also to admit for the first time, the Arab group added a paragraph saying at the beginning of the decision, saying, Jerusalem is a place of the three monotheistic religions so there is a recognition [of Judaism], although I do admit it was not balanced all over the text,” Worbs said, referencing the drafters, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.

The resolution passed the first vote yesterday by 24-6, with 26 abstentions. It will be finalized in another vote on Tuesday.

Not included in the flurry of condemnations today was the Palestinian government, which was busy holding a conference inside of the United Nations Security Council on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. If the Palestinians move forward, this will be their second attempt to seek Security Council intervention to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The roster of speakers at headquarters in New York included the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and the organization American for Peace Now.

“After almost half a century of Israeli military control over millions of people, the occupation is only deepening, while the settlements – one of the main reasons for daily violations of Palestinians’ human rights – continue to expand,” B’Tselem said in advance of its presentation. “Under these circumstances, it would be unreasonable to consider the occupation temporary or to believe that Israel intends to change this reality in the foreseeable future.”

Allison Deger
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24 Responses

  1. gamal
    October 15, 2016, 12:40 pm

    “to the sanctuary in Jerusalem,”

    like the ‘cave of macpelah’ it’s a Mosque, with no evidence whatsoever that it has ever been anything else.

    • Mayhem
      October 15, 2016, 7:03 pm

      Gamal, are you trying to rewrite history to your benefit. The Cave of Machpelah translated from Hebrew as the “cave of the double tombs” reflects the very old tradition of the double tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, who are all believed to be buried there.
      Whichever you look at the Holy Land the Jews were everywhere long before Islam came on the scene.

      • Shingo
        October 15, 2016, 11:04 pm

        who are all believed to be buried there.

        You have cited no evidence, only a belief. Nor is the argument that Jews were there before Islam.

      • MHughes976
        October 16, 2016, 3:06 am

        I don’t think that anyone denies that there was once a Kingdom centred on Jerusalem and its Temple which was the religious centre of the Jewish world and had a predominantly Jewish population. There are further statements about ancient history, some concerning the origin of the Western Wall, that arouse various degrees of controversy. However in more recent times various rights of private property grew up and received general acceptance. These include the rights of Muslim religious organisations and some of these rights cover the (claimed; I don’t disagree with the claim) former Temple area and its structures. Even if all the statements about ancient history favoured by Zionists are completely true they would not, would not begin, to give a right to individuals who are Jewish or to governments representing them to expropriate existing owners. UNESCO seems to think that the customary names for things and places should be those assigned by their rightful owners and perhaps they have a point.

  2. Kay24
    October 15, 2016, 2:08 pm

    It is time Clinton, Trump, and other zionist supporters realize that out there in the world there are leaders who sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians, and will do the right thing by them.
    They are not intimidated nor bribed by the culprit occupiers to do their bidding. Shame on the US for supporting and arming an occupier.

  3. Mayhem
    October 15, 2016, 6:58 pm

    This is high farce pandering to Muslim sensibilities with tokenistic gestures to both Jews and Christians.

    • Shingo
      October 15, 2016, 11:06 pm

      Yes Mayhem, it must come as quite a shock to witness pandering to someone else’s sensibilities for a change.

      • Kay24
        October 16, 2016, 6:56 am

        Good point. They want ALL the pandering for themselves, and all the aid too for that matter.

      • Mayhem
        November 10, 2016, 4:53 pm

        @Shingo, I remember so fondly your dismissive remarks about the Syrian conflict many moons ago when you made a total fool of yourself by discounting the significance of what was happening there relative to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which has claimed a mere fraction of the casualties compared to this Islamic inferno going on in Syria.
        Certainly your views aren’t worth pandering to.

      • annie
        November 10, 2016, 5:36 pm

        dismissive remarks about the Syrian conflict many moons ago you made a total fool of yourself by discounting the significance of what was happening there relative to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

        mayhem, i think you’re confused. your link leads to a 2012 discussion about iran, not syria.

        first shingo quoted another poster, then he responded (which i placed in bold):

        . It just goes to show that Iranians and Israelis are ultimately quite similar. It’s a shame the Iranian citizens are being held hostage by its oppressive regime.

        It’s a bigger shame that Jews and Palestinians are being held hostage to Zionism.

        then you diverted and brought up syria. and now you’re going on another old thread to challenge him knowing he’s not been around for awhile. what’s up?

        shingo doesn’t make a fool of himself, he makes fools of the people who challenge him. when he’s around that is.

    • Nicholas
      October 18, 2016, 1:32 pm

      Let me guess, Mayhem, by your rules, anything less than 100% pandering to Jews is ‘antisemitic? If a Palestinian dare breathes in ‘Judea and Samaria’, that constitutes “hate breathing.” And if they have a couple kids…I suppose that’s “hate breeding”?

  4. RoHa
    October 15, 2016, 11:08 pm

    “Trump and Clinton blast UNESCO statement on Jerusalem”

    Of course they did. They are running for President of the US.

    ‘UNESCO included a paragraph stating the “importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” ‘

    Someone should tell UNESCO that there are more than three.

  5. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 16, 2016, 3:28 am

    The establishment of Israel by the United Nations, as defined in 3 acts: the partition plan of 47, the acceptance of Israel in 49 and the resolution that did not resolve, 242 of 1967 is certainly involved in the conflict. the jewish temple which i believe was on the temple mount, i suppose some here have done hours of research on the matter without ever having visited the spot, and i tip my hat to them and their expertise regarding evidence and history, was destroyed they say about 1946 years ago, but it certainly is still the focus of much jewish religious thoughts and feelings. the fact that it was destroyed and others have controlled jerusalem from 70 to 1967 is certainly quite relevant to the united nations, that is precedence is given to the status quo of 1917 rather than history way before or since, and that is the natural stance of the united nations.

    this bystander’s view of islam is that they want things two ways, to accept moses and his torah and to deny that it is relevant in this world, though they base the prophecy of Muhammad, PBUH, as part of a chain that includes moses. because they are billion plus believers this attitude must play a role in practical life on the planet. further, because i feel my second home is jerusalem and this is part of the faith system of my fellow jerusalem neighbors, i accept that the status quo regarding the temple mount is preferable to me than those who wish to “rock the boat”.

    • Misterioso
      October 18, 2016, 12:36 pm

      For the record:

      On October 29, 1947, the day the recommendatory only Partition Plan (UNGA Res. 181) was passed, the total population of West Jerusalem (the New City) and East Jerusalem (the Old City) and their environs was about 200,000 with a slight Arab majority. (Professor Walid Khalidi, Harvard, “Plan Dalet,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn, 1988, p. 17)

      The total land area of West Jerusalem was 19,331 dunams (about 4,833 acres) of which 40 per cent was owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians, 26.12 per cent by Jews and 13.86 per cent by others (e.g., Christian communities.) Government and municipal land made up 2.90 per cent and roads and railways 17.12 per cent.

      East Jerusalem (the Old City) consisted of 800 dunams (about 200 acres) of which five dunams (just over one acre, i.e. one half of one percent) were Jewish owned and the remaining 795 dunams were owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians. (“Assessing Palestinian Property in the City,” by Dalia Habash and Terry Rempel, Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War, edited by Salim Tamari, The Institute of Jerusalem Studies, 1999, pp. 184-85)

  6. Marnie
    October 16, 2016, 10:46 am

    “While none of the phrases used by UNESCO innately negates the heritage of other religions to the sanctuary in Jerusalem, Israel views it as a word torpedo aimed at Judaism’s connection to Jerusalem. So do the Trump and Clinton camps, and the U.S. government, which voted against it.”

    Of course the zionists are acting all offended. It’s always been their place to have top billing in this game of thrones. They’ve always been shown and continue to be fawned over by a so-called ‘super power’. But UNESCO, smart people that they are, have not given them what they wrongfully demand and now they’re having a tantrum, like a spoiled rotten brat. Trump and Clinton are upset? Of course, that’s their job. They are bought and paid for by Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, the Koch brothers, AIPAC and are probably strong-armed by the JDL and Mossad. This was pretty funny reading.

    • gamal
      October 16, 2016, 12:44 pm

      “Of course the zionists are acting all offended.”

      yes you know Arabs really don’t know how to do sects properly, i confess i don’t is the Al-Aqsa a Sunni Mosque, is the Church of the Ressurection Shi’i, we may all be a bit transectual.

  7. MaxNarr
    October 16, 2016, 1:05 pm

    And the real tragedy is the lack of education. Although the antisemitic resolution was blasted by the head of UNESCO and Ban Ki Moon, they still mentioned that the Western Wall is the Holiest site in Judaism while in fact it is the Temple Mount itself.

    • gamal
      October 16, 2016, 5:17 pm

      and do you know the worst thing Max, yer catholic Arab is no better than the other kind, you don’t know what holy means

    • Marnie
      October 18, 2016, 9:12 am

      “And the real tragedy is the lack of education”.

      Yeah, yours.

    • Misterioso
      October 18, 2016, 12:44 pm

      “Although the antisemitic [sic] resolution was blasted…”
      Anti-Semitic? Spare us this nonsense. The resolution is entirely consistent with international law, e.g., the UN Charter, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statutes, binding on all UN members and ratified by Israel.

  8. mcohen.
    October 16, 2016, 4:15 pm

    i always thought unesco was the name of a coffee .like nescafe.a supermarket brand in the glass jar
    imagine a coffee company ruling on ancient history.thousands of artefacts not proof enough.
    in ottomsn times jews had to get special permission to pray at the wall
    ..rabbinical law forbid jews from setting foot on the temple, mount.this law existed before islam.
    milk with one sugar please

    • Mooser
      October 18, 2016, 1:39 pm

      “..rabbinical law forbid jews from setting foot on the temple, mount.this law existed before islam.”

      Thanks, “mcohen”! If that’s what “rabbinical law” says, it’s good enough for me. I won’t go near the place.

  9. Ossinev
    October 17, 2016, 12:26 pm

    All this “blasting”. The Yahoo is also prone to the odd “blast” Is it just something to do with fairytale biblical characters inciting their adoring followers to smite (aka blast) non believers ?
    I always thought it had something to do with explosives – so can it be classed as verbal terrorism ?

  10. James Canning
    James Canning
    October 18, 2016, 1:46 pm

    How much of the rubbish coming out of the Trump campaign, re: Israel, is the result of Sheldon Adelson’s influence? East Jerusalem is part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, no matter what Netanyahu claim to the contrary.

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