Israel recalled its UNESCO ambassador for “consultations” after the UN organization adopted a resolution on Jerusalem that condemned Israel for allegedly thwarting freedom of worship at Muslim and Christian sites while ignoring the biblical connection to the Temple Mount, an ancient plaza which was referred to only by its Muslim names, including ‘Haram al-Sharif’ and the ‘Al-Aqsa compound’. In a speech at the Interdisciplinary center in Herzliya, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel must decide its next steps toward UNESCO, an organization the Israeli leader said must be condemned for its absurd resolutions.
“I’ve decided to call back to Israel our UNESCO ambassador, for consultations. We will decide what to do, what will be our next steps toward this organization […] The fact is, that even if this decision will not be implemented, it was raised in UNESCO. This absurd thing, that we, pay attention, Israel, in the Middle East, we are those who are violating the rights of the different religions, we are those who don’t safeguard the holy sites. Can you think of something more absurd? We don’t safeguard?! We are the only ones who do so! With determination and jealousy, rigorously, who safeguards if not us? And we all know what happens here in the Middle East with radical Islam, which blows up mosques, blows up churches, blows up historical landmarks, slaughters Yezidis, slaughters Muslims who don’t agree with them, slaughters Christians, slaughter anyone they can get their hands on. So those who need to be condemned are certainly not Israelis, Israel deserves all manner of superlatives on this subject, as it serves as a lighthouse of progress and tolerance and rights, those who deserve condemnation are UNESCO themselves,” said Netanyahu.
According to a text provided by Palestinian officials, the last resolution adopted in Paris by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee refers to the Temple Mount, only as a “Muslim holy site of worship”, ignoring the biblical connection to the site where both Temples once stood, while rejecting the right of Jews and Christians from worshiping God at the ancient plaza. Nevertheless, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat stressed in a statement that the aim of the UNESCO resolutions was to protect the religious rights of all three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, at the holy sites in Jerusalem.