The text of an upcoming resolution would reportedly mark the first time UNESCO will officially reject Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to vote on a resolution that rejects Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day this Tuesday.
It would be the first time UNESCO’s executive board will officially reject Israeli sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem, not just the portions of the city won during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The initial draft text introduced by Arab states in March declared “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 Temple Mount, or what prior UNESCO resolutions exclusively refer to as “Haram al-Sharif,” is reportedly not mentioned in the text of the resolution, but it does say that the historical Jewish holy sites of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem are “an integral part of Palestine.”
Moreover, while recognizing “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions,” it reportedly calls to reaffirm prior texts referencing the sites only by their Muslims names.
Israel’s foreign ministry is lobbying member states of UNESCO’s executive board, which have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, to vote against the resolution, or at the very least abstain.
“Israel expects the member nations to vote against the absurd resolution,” an Israeli diplomatic official said according to Ynet. “This draft resolution won’t hurt our determination to act in Jerusalem for the benefit of all of its residents. It will, however, hurt UNESCO’s declining position and the organization’s relevancy.”
Notwithstanding the final text of the resolution, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova acknowledged the utmost importance of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the Jewish people while addressing the 15th plenary assembly of the World Jewish Congress on Monday, referring to the site by its Hebrew and Jewish title, “Har Habayit.”
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