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Israel PM blasts UNESCO resolution on Al-Aqsa

April 17, 2016 at 1:02 pm

A recent resolution adopted by the UN’s culture agency criticizing “Israeli aggression” and restrictions on Muslim worship at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque has prompted accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the resolution ignores Jewish history.

On Friday, the UN’s education, science and culture agency (UNESCO) adopted the Jordan-sponsored resolution, which calls for a return to the “status quo” before the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, when the Jordanian Waqf, an official Islamic foundation responsible for the mosque, had full control over the site.

It also called on Israel to halt all projects currently being carried out around the Maghrabi Gate of the Al-Aqsa compound, which Israel completely controls and is used by tourists and Jewish visitors, including plans to build a new Jewish prayer plaza in the vicinity.

“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Netanyahu said in a statement released Saturday night.

“UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two [Jewish] temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years,” he asserted.

“The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop,” the prime minster added.

Israeli media highlighted the fact that the resolution did not use the term “Temple Mount”, which is used by Jews to describe the site, considered the holiest in Judaism and the alleged location of two ancient Jewish temples.

Tensions around the site have mounted since last September, when Israel’s decision to bar entry to Muslims under 50 — amid a series of Jewish religious holidays — triggered angry protests.

Palestinians accuse Israel of attempting to alter the status quo in the Al-Aqsa compound, which had given the Jordanian Waqf authority over the mosque and barred non-Muslims from engaging in prayer at the site.