UN chief urged not to deny the involvement of Muslims, Jews and Christians to the Holy sites of Jerusalem
UN Secretary-General ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the resolution of the Executive Committee of UNESCO on Jerusalem, adopted 13 Oct. The Secretary General recalled the importance of the city’s sacred places for Muslims, Jews and Christians, calling to maintain the status quo concerning the Holy places. In Israel believe that the resolution denies the historical connection of the Jews with Jerusalem. Previously, for this reason the Jewish state severed its cooperation with UNESCO.
Ban Ki-moon stated that Jerusalem is a Holy city of three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, according to the press service of the UN. The Secretary General recalled that the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, considered the third holiest site in Islam, located on the Temple mount, the Western wall which is the holiest site for the Jews. In addition, the mosque is the place revered by Christians – of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the mount of olives, or oil the mountains.
Ban Ki-moon noted that the denial of the involvement of the communities to the shrines will fuel violence and extremism in the region. He called for maintaining the status quo concerning Jerusalem’s Holy sites.
The statement, ban Ki-moon was made the day before, 18 October. On the same day, the Board of UNESCO approved a resolution of the Executive Committee of 13 October on the status of the Holy sites of Jerusalem, reports NEWSru Israel. When this was ignored the requirement of Mexico to hold a second vote on the document. Their disagreement with the wording of the resolution was expressed by Mexico and Brazil, saying that “we are talking about a biased document which ignores the rights and interests of the Jewish people.” However, a second vote was not held. However, according to experts, the procedure would not change the balance of power because Arab countries have a majority in the structures of UNESCO.
The earlier resolution also criticized UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. The head of the organization said that the Temple mount is sacred to Jews, not only for adherents of Islam, after which it was subjected to criticism and threats, said NEWSru Israel.
The Executive Committee of UNESCO, which includes representatives of 58 countries, October 13 voted for the resolution on the status of Jerusalem’s Holy sites. Six States (USA, UK, Lithuania, Netherlands, Estonia and Germany) opposed the document, 24 were in support and 26 abstentions.
The resolution was brought to a vote by Egypt and the Palestinian national authority (PNA). In the document called Israel “the occupying power”, condemning the aggression against Muslims in Jerusalem. In the resolution, the Jewish state was found guilty that does not allow followers of Islam to freely pray in mosques on the Temple mount, including preventing access to the al-Aqsa mosque.
In addition, the document condemns the excavations that Israel has conducted “in the region of ascent to the gate Mughrabi and around him.” The resolution demands the immediate cessation of the conduct of these studies. The document says about Israel’s commitment “to maintain the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of the complex of al-Aqsa mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif in accordance with the historical status quo as sacred for Muslims places of worship and an integral part of the world heritage site”. In addition, the resolution notes that “the rise of the Mughrabi is an integral and inseparable part of the al-Aqsa mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif”.
In Israel, a resolution of the Executive Committee of UNESCO sharply criticized, seeing in it signs of anti-Semitism. The Israeli side was indignant with that in the document to refer to shrines in the Old city of Jerusalem used exclusively Muslim name. At the same time the connection of the Jewish people with these places is completely ignored.
After the vote on the draft resolution, Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO. Israeli education Minister Naftali Bennett accused the organization of supporting the Islamists and ignoring thousands of years of relations of the Jews with Jerusalem.
The al-Aqsa mosque located on the Temple mount Jerusalem is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. However, the Temple mount (so called in Israel surrounded by the high walls of the rectangular square, towering over the other parts of the Old city of Jerusalem) is considered the most sacred place for Jews. In addition, this place is mentioned in the Christian sacred texts, making it Holy for Christians.