UNESCO Jerusalem Vote Passes With Last Minute Surprise for Arab Group

"The Centre warned of the potential danger of Article 18 of the Resolution in calling the Western Wall “part of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.   This could provoke further violence against Jews in Israel and Christians throughout the Middle-East…

Mosques, media and schools throughout the region can now claim that non-Muslims at the Wall are trespassing on Al Aqsa.” “UNESCO bears responsibility for the consequences.”

Paris, 26 October 2016

Reporting from UNESCO, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated Tanzania for cracking the Palestinian conception of “consensus” - as meaning unanimity - by demanding a secret ballot.

This procedure allowed a split between the 21 member-States. Several countries were yesterday reported to have received direct threats.

The secret ballot resulted in two votes against, eight abstentions and one absentee (Jamaica).

Though these 11 constitute a majority, in the UN system abstentions and absences are not counted.

This left the 10 voting for the Resolution to prevail. The Arab group protested this as “the politicization of UNESCO” – an exercise in “chutzpa” (Yiddish for audacity).

One diplomat confided that the Palestinians had refused inclusion of “the Temple Mount” in parenthesis after “Al Aqsa Al Haram Al Sharif,” in exchange for the agreement granted by Israel to accept “Al Quds” in parenthesis after “Jerusalem.”

The Palestinians refused, as recognition of any Jewish antecedents in Jerusalem, they believe, would legitimize Israel’s existence.

Samuels lobbied several Ambassadors, including the Turkish – who had worked on the resolution in July at the World Heritage Commission in Istanbul – where the text was frozen due to the failed coup d’État.

Another protested privately that "while cultural heritage was being destroyed in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the Palestinians abused the World Heritage Committee's time and patience on Israeli tramlines and Visitors' Centres so called 'damage' to Jerusalem".

The Centre warned delegates of the potential danger of Article 18 of the Resolution in calling the Western Wall “part of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif. This could provoke further violence against Jews in Israel and Christians throughout the Middle-East… Mosques, media and schools throughout the region can now claim that non-Muslims at the Wall are trespassing on Al Aqsa.  

“UNESCO bears responsibility for the consequences,” concluded Samuels.