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  • Annemeet Hasidi-van der Leij.

Is UNESCO right? Is there no Jewish history in Jerusalem?

On the Independence Day of Israel, 2 May 2017, UNESCO okays the resolution denying Israeli claims to Jerusalem

24 countries vote in favor of motion; 26 abstain, and 6 countries vote against; Israel envoy slams ‘new low, even by UNESCO standards’


The United Nation’s cultural body passed the latest in a series of resolutions that denies Israeli claims to Jerusalem.

Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine,” which indicates that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem, had been expected to pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body.

The vote, which coincided with Israel’s Independence Day, passed with 24 countries in favor, 26 abstentions, 6 opposed, and the representatives of Serbia and Turkmenistan were absent from the vote, presumably deliberately to avoid the issue entirely.

Six countries voted no: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States.

The resolution indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. Israel is referred to throughout the document as the “occupying power” in Jerusalem, indicating that it has no legal or historical ties to any part of the city.

The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

Its wording was slightly less harsh on Jerusalem than previous resolutions, in that it does affirm the importance of the city to the “three monotheistic religions.”

In the moments after the vote passed, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, draped in a large Israeli flag, addressed the meeting.

“Even now, after this miserable vote, this blue and white flag is flying high above the Temple Mount and throughout Israel’s eternal capital city, Jerusalem, waving in the wind, saying to all ‘here we are, and we are here to stay,'” Shama-Hacohen said.

“This biased and blatantly deceitful decision, and the attempts to dispute the connection between Israel and Jerusalem, will not change the simple fact that this city is the historic and eternal capital of the Jewish people,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in a statement. “Israel will not stand silently by in the face of this shameful resolution.”

The UNESCO resolution is ignoring the Jewish people’s millennia-long bond to Israel’s capital city. Judaism has deeper roots in Jerusalem that any other religion. There is no other people in the world for whom Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people. Throughout Jewish history Jerusalem was the heart of the nation.


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