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Temple Mount: Jerusalem's most holy site has nothing to do with Judaism, Unesco rules

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution is a 'theatre of the absurd'

Samuel Osborne
Friday 14 October 2016 08:39 BST
Libel court proceedings surrounding a convicted paedophile began in Jerusalem last week
Libel court proceedings surrounding a convicted paedophile began in Jerusalem last week (David Silverman/Getty)

The UN's cultural agency Unesco has adopted a motion which marginalises Jewish ties to several holy sites in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, denies the Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem and is a "theatre of the absurd".

Mr Netanyahu asked on his Facebook page: "Is it any wonder the UN has become a moral farce when Unesco, the UN body tasked with preserving history, denies and distorts history?"

The resolution downplays Jewish ties to the Western Wall and to the plaza that Jews revere as the Temple Mount and Muslims revere as the Noble Sanctuary.

While affirming the importance of the Old City to all three monotheistic religions, Israeli politicians said the resolution denies the importance of the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary by referring to it and the al-Aqsa mosque only by their Muslim names.

The resolution criticised Israel for policies it says restrict Muslim access to the holy sites.

Mr Netanyahu added: "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 and that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids."

"With this absurd decision, Unesco lost the little legitimisation it had left. But I believe that the historical truth is stronger and the truth will win."

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The resolution was backed by 24 countries while six countries opposed it and 26 abstained.

The UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia voted against the resolution.

The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the resolution, which was adopted on Thursday in draft form.

It is to reach Unesco's executive plenary next week. Unesco adopted a similar resolution in April.

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