On or about October 18, 2016, UNESCO adopted a resolution that officially incorporated two major lies:
First, that Israel is an “occupying Power” (in effect that Israel is unlawfully occupying Arab Palestinian territory), and
Second, that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is exclusively an Islamic holy site (despite historical records of thousands of years establishing that the site was where the Jews built their two Temples, thereby making the site holy to both Jews and Christians).
I’ll begin by fact checking the first absurd lie: Israel is NOT an occupying Power. For approximately 400 years, until the end of World War I, the territory called “Palestine” had been an integral part of the Ottoman Empire. Following the Ottoman defeat in World War I, the Ottomans renounced all claims to their former non-Turkish territories, including Palestine. The League of Nations established a system of Mandates to control the territories previously held by the Ottomans. One of the Mandates was the Mandate for Palestine. The nation put in control of the Mandate for Palestine was Great Britain.
The British were charged with the responsibility to establish in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people. One of the first things the British did once becoming Mandatory was to divide Palestine into two parts: the portion east of the Jordan River was renamed Transjordan and constituted over three quarters of the territory of the Palestinian Mandate, and the portion west of the Jordan River retained the name Palestine. Hence, the British left only one quarter of the territory for the Jewish national home. The larger, eastern portion, Transjordan, ultimately became the Arab state we know today as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Mandate for Palestine was an internationally-recognized treaty whose terms called for the settlement of Jews throughout Palestine. That means that Jews were allowed by a recognized international treaty to settle in what we know today as Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (historically known as Judea and Samaria), and east Jerusalem. And the Mandate for Palestine has never been rescinded. As a result, Jews continue to enjoy the internationally-recognized right to settle throughout “Palestine”, no matter how often and stridently Palestinian Arabs and their allies claim otherwise.
Hence, the UNESCO Resolution contains an outright lie that must be challenged.
As for that second lie, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is NOT an exclusively Islamic religious site. Claiming that it is exclusively Islamic is absurd on its face, and it is especially troubling that UNESCO member states that know better would abstain and allow that false claim to be included in the Resolution. It has been established historically without doubt that the Temple Mount was a Jewish holy site for multiple hundreds of years before Islam even came into existence. To claim otherwise is either the height of ignorance or intentional falsehood.
No one disputes that the Temple Mount is an Islamic holy site. Likewise, no sane person can argue that the Temple Mount is not the holiest site for Jews and a significant holy site for Christians. Yet, even Islam’s holy book, the Quran, states that “Allah” gave the holy land to the Jews:
Remember Moses said to his people: “O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what he had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you . . . .” Quran 5:20-21.
O children of Israel call to mind the special favour to which Allah said, And We [Allah] said thereafter To The Children of Israel, “Dwell securely in the land.” Quran 17:104.
The claim that the Temple Mount is an exclusive Islamic holy site is another outright lie that must be challenged. It violates the teachings of all three great monotheistic religions, and it violates the findings of archeology.
This resolution and its lies is merely the latest anti-Semitic attack against Israel perpetrated by our vital ally’s enemies around the world.
In response to these blatant lies, we have just sent a letter to the Director-General of UNESCO calling on her both to renounce the Resolution and to send out a call to UNESCO member states to reconsider and repeal the Resolution.
We must continue standing up for Israel in a world where our greatest ally in the region faces more threats from every side every day.
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