The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) on Thursday passed a resolution ignoring (some say denying) the Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which it referred to only as the Al-Haram Al Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), the name imposed on the sacred plateau after its conquest by Muslims in the 7th century CE.
That Israel and the Jewish people have a documented history at the site going back thousands of years before that was not at all acknowledged.
The resolution drew angry responses from Israel, the American government and both US presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“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,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu. “By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”
Netanyahu said that those who refuse to take seriously the Bible and the mountains of archeological evidence uncovered by Israeli archeologists need only visit the Arch of Titus in Rome.
“On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago. There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People, and I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today,” the prime minister pointed out.
With Israel being such an important election issue in the US, Republican candidate Donald Trump also weighed in personally, calling the UNESCO decision “further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the UN.”
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not respond personally, but her foreign policy adviser, Laura Rosenberer, told reporters, “It’s outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount.”
The Palestinian Authority, which submitted the resolution, was naturally pleased by the vote. “Our peaceful agenda will not be derailed by propaganda, nor will our tolerance and adherence to international law be altered by fallacies and cynical spin,” read a PA Foreign Ministry statement.
A number of Israeli officials warned that by adopting the hostile narrative of the Palestinian leadership, the international community was actually making peace in the region less achievable.
For most Israelis, the major sticking point of the peace process is the Arabs’ refusal to accept that the Jewish people have a history, and therefore a legitimate claim, in this region.