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UNESCO Resolution was about Israel's military Occupation

UNESCO Resolution was about Israel's military Occupation

A Shalom Kiwi Press Release dated 6 November 2016 takes New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, to task for not siding with Israel in opposing the passing of last month's UNESCO Resolution that expressed concern for “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem”.

Shalom Kiwi would have us believe that the resolution was anti-Jewish. In fact, it had nothing to do with Jewish history or the Jewish people. The Resolution was about Israel's brutal and discriminatory military Occupation and behaviour in the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al Haram Al Sharif and the Ibrahimi Mosque. It is within that context that UNESCO referred to the Islamic holy places as they had always been known before the Occupation. UNESCO quite rightly proclaimed “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions”and noted the international community’s conviction that “the two sites are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam”. But this is not sufficient for Israel, which is seeking a re-branding of the site in order to strengthen its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem.

Israel has a peace treaty with Jordan. Rather than petulantly suspend relations with UNESCO, the proper course for Israel would be to co-operate seriously with the Jordanian Waqf Ministry, that is entrusted by Palestinians and the Islamic world to be the custodian of the Islamic shrine. Israel objects to UNESCO because it exposes its violations of international law which clearly state what is not permissible, in terms of excavations, archaeology, cultural interference and population transfer.

Israel's attitude towards the area and its people is exemplified in a photo which can be seen (Library of Congress) on line. It shows the Moroccan Quarter, a 700-year-old neighbourhood that included a Twelfth Century mosque below the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Dome of the Rock that Israel demolished in order to create the Western Wall Plaza.

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