(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The cultural body of the United Nations is expected to adopt a resolution Tuesday, on Israel’s Independence Day, classifying Israel as an “occupying power” in Jerusalem.
UNESCO is also expected to conclude that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, both Jewish holy sites in Judea and Samaria, are exclusively Muslim sites.
The resolution has garnered European support after an original version of the draft, submitted on behalf of the Palestinians by a number of the body’s Arab member states, was softened. The original draft sought to reaffirm 18 previous UNESCO resolutions against Israel on the matter of Jerusalem, including resolutions denying Israeli sovereignty over the city as well as any Jewish link to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The draft resolution now states that “any action taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the city of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” The draft resolution is also expected to condemn the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem and call for the deployment of international observes to the city.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the UNESCO move “fake history.”
“UNESCO has long been politicized and unfortunately has become a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda against Israel,” she said Monday. “Such absurd and historically baseless resolutions undermine UNESCO’s mission of safeguarding humanity's cultural heritage.”
"We, as Israelis, don’t need UNESCO’s approval of our history in our land,” Hotovely added. “However, for the countries voting tomorrow, I must say in the clearest terms: If you cherish history and affirm UNESCO’s duty to respect historical truth, there is no choice other than to vote against this latest attempt to subvert international institutions in order to attack Israel.”
Last October, UNESCO passed two resolutions denying Judaism’s historic connection to the Temple Mount.