The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has allegedly threatened to introduce a more harshly-worded text against Israel if a new resolution challenging Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites does not receive the full support of the world body during a vote to be held Wednesday by the organization’s World Heritage committee.
The resolution, entitled “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls”, deals with alleged violations by Israel in Jerusalem’s Old City and was submitted just days after UNESCO’s executive board controversially ratified a similar resolution on “occupied Palestine” which referred to the Temple Mount complex by its Muslim names only.
In a letter sent to the 21 members of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee on Monday, the Palestinian and Jordanian delegations to the word cultural body said that hesitation to endorse the resolution by some member states is seen “as a retreat from the consensual language” previously approved by all committee members.
In the letter, a copy of which was seen by the Times of Israel, warns that should the resolution not be approved, “the delegation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the delegation of Palestine would and according to the rules of procedure be obliged to consider other options.”
While the letter does explicitly say what the “other options” would include, Israeli officials say that the Palestinians have threatened to push through blatantly biased resolutions which would further damage UNESCO’s reputation, the Times of Israel reports.
While the text of the new resolution is softer than the one passed just over a week ago, omitting the term “occupying” force with reference to Israel, it once again refers to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim names (“Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “Al-Haram Al-Sharif”) deeming it “a Muslim holy site of worship” alone.
The new resolution, unlike the last, also does not use quotation marks when referring to the Jewish name for the Western Wall, known to Muslims as the al-Buraq plaza.
However, the new resolution omits any acknowledgement of the sites’ religious significance to either the Jewish or Christian faiths, something which was included in the October 13 text which mentioned their importance to “the three monotheistic religions.”
Israel has engaged in diplomatic efforts with committee members with the hope that the resolution will not pass unanimously.