Erekat: UNESCO resolution calls for respecting status quo of religious sites

PNN/ Bethlehem/
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed on Wednesday a resolution that denied Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Old city, two weeks after voting on a resolution announcing Al-Aqsa mosque  compound Islamic heritage.

The resolution passed with 10 votes in favor, two against, and eight abstentions in a secret ballot.

The resolution denounces Israeli settler enterings into Al-Aqsa mosuqe and ongoing excavations carried out by Israeli Occupation Authorities under Al-Aqsa mosque, and call for a halt to these aggressions.

 It refers to sites in Jerusalem with their Islamic Arab names, like the previous resolution,  which refers to the proclaimed Hebrew Har HaBayt (Temple Mount) with its Muslim name (Al-Aqsa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif).
PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat in an official statement on the vote said “Israel’s Illegal attempts to change the identity of Occupied East Jerusalem, including its Christian and Muslim traditions, have been ongoing since its occupation of the city in 1967.  The State of Palestine, in full cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, through diplomatic channels, has been doing everything possible in order to preserve the status quo of the historical Holy Sites in the city in line with the internationally recognized status quo arrangement and all international resolutions and treaties.”

 

“Through an orchestrated campaign, Israel has been using archeological claims and distortion of facts as a way to legitimize the annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem. Contrary to what the Israeli government claims, the resolution that was voted by UNESCO aims at reaffirming the importance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It calls for respecting the status quo of its religious sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound that continues to be threatened by the systematic incitement and provocative actions of the Israeli government and extremist Jewish groups.”

The previous resolution, put forth by the Palestinians along with Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, condemns Israel on several issues related to Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The resolution said that the site is sacred to all religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, but fails to find any historic or religious ties to Judaism, as Israel claims.