A new draft resolution due to be submitted to the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), declares that the Western Wall is part of al-Aqsa Mosque and, among other things, that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are part of a Palestinian state.
Dear Director-General Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO):
The Palestinian leadership is set to submit a new draft resolution to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), declaring, among other things, that the Western Wall is part of al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Palestinian draft also condemns Israel for the measures taken by the Israeli security forces in the wake of the recent escalation in Israel and the West Bank, accuses Israel of violating the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and contends that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are part of the alleged Palestinian state.
Israel strictly maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount, and has no intention of changing it, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has affirmed more than once. On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership is propagating false allegations about violations of the status quo, knowing all too well that it stokes hatred and leads to acts of violence.
Palestinian attempts to claim exclusive ownership over religious sites such as the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb – and their denial of any Jewish rights in these sites, although Jews have been praying there for thousands of years – are indicative of their general approach towards the Jewish state. Indeed, it is Palestinian refusal to come to terms with the very existence of Jews in the ancient Jewish homeland that is the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political conflict between two peoples with competing national goals, and it should be addressed as such. By turning it to a religious conflict – such as the recent burning of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus by Palestinian extremists and now the attempt to claim ownership over the Western Wall and other holy sites – the Palestinians are rendering the conflict all the more difficult to resolve.
We respectfully call on you to halt this harmful initiative.