Israeli Ambassador to UN dumps resolution in trash
The UN’s World Heritage Committee (UNESCO) adopted a second resolution on Jerusalem, again ignoring Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount. Although some Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office, said there had been some improvement in the language, the new resolution continues to ignore the Jewish relation to the Temple Mount, where Jews believe the First and Second Temples were built and destroyed.
Ironically, the new resolution came the same day that the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) displayed a rare papyrus dating to the First Temple Period – about 2700 years ago – which has the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew. A spokesman for the IAA said the papyrus was believed to have been plundered from a cave in the Judean desert and is one of only three Hebrew scrolls from that period.
Lebanon and Tunisia submitted the resolution on behalf of Jordan and the Palestinians, who are not among the 21 member states of UNESCO. The Arab states had originally wanted the resolution to pass unanimously, without a vote, and toned down some of the original language. For example, the resolution refers to the Western Wall, without using quotation marks as the previous resolution did.
At the same time, it still only refers to the Temple Mount by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa Mosque. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said that the fact that the vote was even held, and that eight nations abstained, was a victory of sorts.
“More nations moved this year from support to abstentions,” the statement says, attributing this to “intense efforts by the prime minister and the Foreign Ministry.”
But, in a sign that the Prime Minister’s office and the Foreign Ministry do not always coordinate, Israel’s Foreign Minister Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted a photo of Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, throwing a copy of the resolution in the garbage, followed by an angry tweet.
“UNESCO’s vote on Jerusalem is a piece of rubbish, rightly dumped in the garbage can by our Ambassador!! Long live Jewish Jerusalem!!!” Nachshon tweeted.
Unlike a Security Council resolution, the UNESCO vote does not have policy implications. It is, however, another example of growing international criticism of Israel.
Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, famously coined the phrase “Oom-Shmoom” using the Hebrew name of the UN (Oom) and a derogatory nonsense word (Shmoom), to show that the UN is biased against Israel and should not be taken seriously. But, some Israeli analysts say that Israelis should care about UN resolutions such as these.
“Israel should care about its standing and its image in the world,” Tamir Sheafer, a professor of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem told The Media Line. “(Jerusalem) is something that unites a majority of Israelis.”
Israel acquired the Old City of Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war. But, unlike the West Bank and Gaza, whose international status has yet to be determined, Israel annexed the old city of Jerusalem, with its holy sites, and expanded the municipal borders. The international community, including the United States, has not accepted that move.
For Palestinians, the UN Resolution does not go far enough.
“Israel’s illegal attempts to change the identity of Occupied East Jerusalem, including its Christian and Muslim traditions, have been ongoing since its occupation of the city in 1967,” PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said in a statement. “The State of Palestine, in full cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, through diplomatic channels, has been doing everything possible in order to preserve the status quo of the historical Holy Sites in the city in line with the internationally recognized status quo arrangement and all international resolutions and treaties.”