You may have heard news clips in the last few days about a proposed resolution from UNESCO concerning the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Israel is up in arms about the five-page document, which speaks of “Occupied Palestine” and repeatedly uses phrases like “deeply regrets,” “deeply deplores” and “strongly disapproves” actions taken by Israel in relation to the Temple Mount and the area of archeological work immediately around the Temple Mount.
One thing that’s hard to find in all the news reports is the document itself. If you’d like to see it, click here.
And perhaps, like me, you’re not even sure what UNESCO is.
Formed in 1945, UNESCO’s overarching goal is “building peace in the minds of men and women.” Part of the agency’s work is devoted to protecting global sites that are precious to people of that region and even around the world. Officially, it’s the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization.
In most parts of the world, that would be easy. The Parthenon in Athens, Greece is of obvious value to the global community. The Great Wall of China falls in the same category. But in both of those examples, there’s no dispute about why those ancient wonders are so important to history and to the people of those lands.
Jerusalem is a completely different animal.
For Jews and Christians, Jerusalem is the unquestioned center of the religious world. The city is the third-most important site to Muslims, and has become a flashpoint of anger since Israel took control of the city in 1967.
The anger over the current UNESCO resolution is deep-seated and long in the making. In recent years, there has been a growing effort to rewrite history and remove any idea that a Jewish Temple once stood where the gold-topped “Dome of the Rock” stands today. The resolution adopts that insane idea, continually referring to the Temple Mount only by its Islamic name and barely mentioning the rich history of the Jewish people on the Temple Mount.
Lest we forget, Islam was born more than 600 years after Jesus lived. Jesus lived more than 900 years after David reigned as king. And roughly 800 years before David, Abraham became the father of the Jewish people. Until the Koran re-wrote the story of Abraham taking his son to “Mt. Moriah” (Jerusalem), the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount was unquestioned and unchallenged.
Somehow, the newest of the world’s three major world religions has become convinced that there is no Jewish history related to the Temple Mount … and it has convinced the United Nations to go along with the charade!
In the controversial resolution, UNESCO condemns Israel for “occupying” Palestine, but ignores the voluntary decision Israel made in 1967 to allow Jordanian control of the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel could have controlled the Temple Mount, but elected not to. Jordanian forces fled the city, but Israel invited Jordan to return to the Temple Mount in an effort to foster peace with its Islamic neighbors.
UNESCO condemns Israel-supported archeological work around the Temple Mount, failing to note that none of that work has happened in areas of Islamic control. It also doesn’t mention that the only dirt ever removed on the Temple Mount itself came when Arab leaders brought a bulldozer to the sacred area and quickly removed tons of dirt below the mosque in an illegal rebuilding area.
Don’t miss that. In work that often involves priceless treasures no bigger than a fingernail, the “occupied” authorities used a bulldozer to plow through Temple Mount soil! Scholars the world over called it the greatest archaeological crime in history.
A previous EIN post includes video evidence of that incident. Though the dirt was removed in 1999, it still hasn’t all been sifted and searched for the treasures it holds! What has been sifted has produced just what you’d expect it to produce. It clearly shows that Jewish people have just as much right to the Temple Mount as Christians or Muslims.
As a Christian, I’m grateful that Israel is in control of Jerusalem. For only under Israeli control has the entire city been open to all of us. Before 1967, Jerusalem was literally divided and Christian pilgrims wanting to see the Temple Mount had to pass through a no-man’s land between Israeli and Jordanian forces. Once Israel took over, the city was opened to people of all faiths.
Little wonder Israel is so upset about the UNESCO resolution. Little wonder 32 non-Islamic nations have either voted against the resolution or abstained from the measure altogether. Too bad those abstaining didn’t have the courage to trash this document as soon as the first pages were printed.
Now that an international uproar has begun, the world seems to be waking up to this effort to re-write history. Mexico and Brazil have pulled support from the document, and the final vote on the resolution has been pulled. Whether or not it reappears in the near future is yet to be seen.