The UN’s Heritage Heist
UNESCO recently adopted a resolution that completely ignores the Jewish historical, religious and Biblical ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area in Jerusalem. To promote the Palestinian narrative that these sites are Muslim, it refers to the Temple Mount as “al-Aksa Mosque/al-Haram al Sharif” and the Western Wall area as “al-Buraq Plaza,” a term created in the 1920s by Arabs.
The Temple Mount, while important to three religions, is the holiest site in Judaism, the place where Isaac was brought for sacrifice, where the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant housing both sets of the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments once stood, where King Solomon built the First Temple almost 3,000 years ago and where, after it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, the Second Temple was built. Following the Roman destruction in 70 CE, only one outer wall remained standing and, for 2,000 years, that Western Wall has been the epicenter of the Jewish world, symbolic of the centrality of Jerusalem for more than 900 generations of Jews.
The broad-ranging resolution, echoing Palestinian propaganda almost verbatim and referring to Israel as “the Occupying Power,” denounces the “new cycle of violence” against Palestinians and blames that violence on Israel rather than on young Palestinians wielding knives and ramming cars into randomly targeted Israeli civilians. The resolution fails to mention the Israeli civilian fatalities and casualties that have occurred as a result of this Palestinian terror. It accuses Israel of creating fake Jewish graves in the ancient Jewish Mount of Olives Cemetery and questions the authenticity of the 2000-year-old Jewish ritual baths that have been discovered around the perimeter of the Temple Mount. UNESCO complains about Jews exercising their right to visit the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples.
In 2015 UNESCO, protector of “world heritage” and promoter of “tolerance and mutualrespect,” designated Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, Judaism’s third-holiest site, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (the world’s most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people) as Muslim holy sites. This year it reaffirms that the two sites located in Hebron and Bethlehem “are an integral part of Palestine” and criticizes Israel for its failure to remove the two “Palestinian” sites from its national heritage list.
The resolution was offered by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, on behalf of the “Palestinians.” Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the US voted against it. Supporting it were 33 countries, including France, Spain, Sweden, and Russia, with 17 abstentions.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to the resolution, “UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two Temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and proving that there is no low to which it will not reach.”
UNESCO, whose mission is to build intercultural understanding through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity, continues to aid and abet the Palestinian heritage heist.
Last October, Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious/Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud al-Habbash insisted, “The al-Aqsa Mosque, which includes its plaza, all the gates, all the walls, all the facilities with and without a roof, and all the walls, including the al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall) which is an Islamic wall, an Islamic Waqf — a property of the Muslims — no one can deprive them of this ownership… No one except the Palestinians and Muslims is entitled to even a millimeter of it, not even a single grain of sand… The visit to the al-Buraq Wall (i.e. the Western Wall) is a right every Muslim is entitled to… This property belongs to me and all Muslims.” Al-Habbash deliberately ignores that fact that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born more than 500 years after the destruction of the Second Temple.
Muhammad Hussein, Mufti of Jerusalem, said in 2011, “Not so long ago the occupation (i.e., Israel) claimed that the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) and the Bilal Ibn Rabbah Mosque (Rachel’s Tomb) are Jewish antiquities, and that goes against the truth and history. Today [now that “Palestine” has been accepted into UNESCO] we are able to tell the UN, via UNESCO, that these places are cultural and heritage sites of the Palestinian people.”
Apparently the UN agrees with these outrageous lies and is a willing collaborator in the nefarious Palestinian strategy to rewrite and invent history in order to delegitimize Israel and its claim to its homeland. The UN is complicit in the Palestinian effort to erase the Jewish nation’s 3000-year history in the Land of Israel and supplant it with a false, newly invented “ancient” Palestinian history in order to rid the Middle East of Jews.
This travesty is paid for by our tax dollars.
Ziva Dahl is a fellow with the Haym Salomon Center with a Master of Arts degree in public law and government from Columbia University and an A.B. in political science from Vassar College. This article was originally published by The Observer.