The broad ranging resolution condemned Israeli actions in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. But the resolution focused in large part on Israeli actions with regard to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall Plaza.
All three major monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christian and Islam — consider the Temple Mount to be a holy site.
But the UNESCO resolution referred to the Temple Mount area solely as the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, except for two references to the Western Wall Plaza that were put in parenthesis.
The text also referred to the plaza area by the Western Wall as the Al-Buraq Plaza.
Last October, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization backed away from reclassifying the Western Wall as solely a Muslim holy site. This spring it simply used language that almost solely referred to it as such.
April’s resolution did reaffirm, however, that the Mughrabi Ascent that starts at the Western Wall plaza is an integral and inseparable part of Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
The resolution called for on Israel to restore the situation on the Temple Mount to what it had been prior to September 2000, when the Second Intifada broke out. At that time, according to the resolution, the Jordan Wakf full control of the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif to include work on maintenance and restoration as well as regulating access.
The site is under the full authority, but not full control, of the Islamic Wakf.
UNESCO called on Israel not to restrict Muslim worshipers from accessing the Al-Aksa Mosque site and condemned the violence that occurred there in the fall, but solely focused on Israeli actions in those incidents and not on the violence of the Muslim rioters at the site.
It condemned Israeli plans to build a prayer space for Women of the Wall by Robinson’s Arch, although it did not mention the group by name.
The resolution also charged that Israel had planed “Jewish fake graves” in other Muslim cemeteries located on Wakf property east and south of the Al-Aksa mosque.
The 58-member board approved the resolution 19 with 33 votes in favor, six against and 17 abstention. Two countries, Ghana and Turkmenistan were absent all together.
Those countries who opposed it outright were: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
France, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia were among those countries who supported the resolution.
A second resolution that more globally condemned Israeli actions, passed with 45 votes in favor, 1 vote against and 11 abstentions.
The Foreign Ministry had not response to the vote. B’nai Brith International President Gary P. Saltzman said that, “With this resolution, UNESCO has seemingly lowered itself to the depths of bizarre conspiracy theories.
“These one-sided resolutions are being used to further the Palestinian narrative, which only prolongs the conflict and which, once again, speaks to the continuing bias of the U.N. and its agencies,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.