The United Nations General Assembly passed seven anti-Israel resolutions this week, which are part of a series that submitted annually by the international body’s Special Political and Decolonization Fourth Committee.
Israel views the yearly activity as part of the Palestinian campaign to undermine legitimacy of the Jewish State. While the Fourth Committee, one of six operated by the General Assembly, is tasked with reviewing wide-ranging world issues, it devotes most of its efforts to the Middle East.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan was particularly incensed by a resolution he branded as a “disgrace,” for referring to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem solely as an Islamic holy site evidenced by exclusive use of its Arabic name.
The “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem” resolution stated the UN is “gravely concerned by the tensions and violence in the recent period throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and including with regard to the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif.”
It made mere mention of the “importance of the City of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions” including “the special significance of the holy sites.”
Jews and Christians revere the Temple Mount, which is the third holiest area in the world for Muslims – who built a compound containing the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque on top of the ancient ruins of both biblical temples.
“No resolution passed here will change the eternal connection between the Jewish people and the holiest site of our faith – Har HaBayit [Hebrew for the Temple Mount],” Erdan said from the General Assembly plenum during debate on the drafts.
“A growing number of countries are moving their embassies to Jerusalem, our united and undivided capital,” Erdan reminded the 193 member body, charging that, “Unlike this chamber, which is detached from reality, a growing number of nations are acknowledging that Jerusalem is the undeniable capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.”
So far, the United States and Guatemala have moved their official embassies to the Israeli capital from Tel Aviv. Honduras, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Kosovo, Serbia and Malawi have vowed to do so, while others including Brazil and the Dominican Republic say the relocation is under consideration.
“Any vote in favor of the decisions is a step towards making the UN an irrelevant body,” warned Erdan.
The resolution was nevertheless passed by an overwhelming majority at the the 193-member General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, with a vote of 138 in favor, 9 against and 16 abstentions.
Analysis of the vote reveals several interesting shifts.
There was a significant drop in support of the resolution from the 154 nations who had approved it last year. 27 European Union member states were among those voting in favor, as were both the Dominican Republic and Brazil in spite of their possible embassy moves to the Israeli capital. A German spokesman for the EU asserted that the alliance is opposed to exclusive use of the Islamic name for the Temple Mount, and reiterated last year’s statement that there is a “need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historic significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions.“
Hungary voted against the resolution, along with including Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, Guatemala, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru.
Abstentions rose from 13 to 16, however, when Papua New Guinea – which previously voted against the draft -instead this year chose to join the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Belarus, Serbia, Cameroon, Colombia, Honduras, Kiribati, Sao Tome Principe, Solomon Islands, Togo, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Malawi (the latter of which was absent during the 2019 vote).
“For years, the Palestinians have promoted language that includes only the Muslim term of “Haram al-Sharif” and purposely excludes the Jewish name – Temple Mount” to delegitimize and erase history, said Israeli Ambassador Erdan. Calling such resolutions “outdated” that “do nothing but perpetuate the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he charged the UN “support has emboldened the Palestinians to not only deny the Jewish connection to these sites, but to deny Muslims access to them, too, while threatening violence. By supporting these resolutions you share responsibility for this behavior.”
The other six resolutions condemned Israel for alleged mistreatment of Palestinians and for contributing to the humanitarian disaster in the Islamist-Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.
“Instead of persuading the Palestinians to choose a path of negotiation and peace, these decisions only encourage them to harden their positions,” insisted the Israeli diplomatic envoy.
Moreover, he charged: “By supporting these resolutions, you are not only wasting UN resources, you are also sabotaging any chances of future peace.”
The Palestinian representative at the General Assembly, on the other hand, thanked the member states for their support of resolutions she maintained were “fully in line with International law” and the “clearest answer to the hostile, undiplomatic statement and false accusations and distortions made by the Israeli representative in this hall.”
“The UN’s assault on Israel with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch in statements cited by The Christian CBN news agency. “The UN’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the institutional credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial international body,” added Neuer, the head of the Geneva-based, independent non-governmental watchdog organization, underscoring that, “Politicization and selectivity harm its founding mission, eroding the UN Charter’s promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small.”