Israel lashes out at UNESCO over resolution wording

Soldiers inside a print shop which the IDF said produced posters and other material supporting terror attacks in Al Ram in the West Bank

Also distancing themselves from the resolution was the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who said in a statement that "t$3 o deny, hide or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site ..."

"The director general has received death threats and her protection has had to be reinforced", Carmel Shama HaCohen told Israel Radio.

Israelis refer to the area that encompasses Al-Aqsa Mosque as the "Temple Mount", saying it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

The UN has not confirmed.

"Changing the vote reiterates the recognition that the government of Mexico gives to the undeniable link of the Jewish people to cultural heritage located in East Jerusalem".

"A minority of UNESCO members, led by the Palestinian Authority and Arab countries, has sought for a long time to exploit this body to castigate Israel", Harris said.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) characterized the Unesco resolution as an "affront to the truth and a crude attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state".

Jews however revere it as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where the first and second temples are said to have once stood.

Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli American lawyer and peace activist in Jerusalem, said that although the UNESCO resolution addresses genuine problems of Israel's administration over Muslim holy sites in the old city, the wording is "inflammatory" and unproductive.

"It's outrageous that UNESCO would deny the deep, historic connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount", said Clinton foreign policy advisor Laura Rosenberger.

A draft of the resolution, titled "Occupied Palestine", had already been approved by the UNESCO commission last week.

It is the location of two Biblical Jewish temples and is flanked by the Western Wall, venerated by Jews as part of the original supporting wall of the temple compound.

"Even if they do not read the Bible, I would suggest that UNESCO members visit the Arch of Titus in Rome".

However, it subsequently made a decision to issue a statement and not request a revote after coming under pressure from western countries which had voted against the initial UNESCO bill. Six nations, including the United States, Germany and Britain, voted against and another 26 abstained. The resolution was sponsored by a group of seven Arab states. Mexico's decision now mandates a new committee debate on the resolution before the executive vote, which was scheduled for 11 a.m.

Israel's United Nations envoy Danny Danon said, "On a day when United Nations agencies have again chosen to slander Israel and UNESCO adopted a resolution which attempts to sever the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, I expect the new secretary-general to be a fair leader".

They refer to "Occupied Palestine" and are critical of Israel's management of Palestinian religious sites, but it is the names used to describe key sites that appear to have infuriated Israel the most.



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