The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is again entertaining efforts to deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
The motion, which was filed by Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, repeats previous attempts to declare the entire complex as a holy Muslim site and leaves out any relationship to Judaism, even regarding the Kotel.
It would require Israel to restore the site to its "historic status quo," presumably meaning that Jews would be banned from visiting, as was the situation under the Jordanian occupation from 1948 to 1967.
The document casts Israel in a negative light whenever possible, referring to it as an "occupying force" that allegedly violates the Geneva and Hague Conventions. The drafters claim that Israel severely damages the historic buildings, gates, windows and ceramics, and that it prevents Jordanian repair efforts.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry is working to convince countries to vote against the motion. "The document that was presented to UNESCO is an another malicious and dishonest attempt to harm Israel’s affinity with its capital," an official statement read. "This is a tendentious text and we hope that it is does not receive support from the member states. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the nation of Israel and of Israel’s alone."
Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, says: "Anyone who thought that after the criticism voiced by Israeli and international Jewry against this decision and the recanting of the heads of state and foreign ministers around the world following the last decision that Palestinians would come to their senses need to come to their senses and internalize this complicated reality.
"We have made a concerted diplomatic but the voting will be conducted by a secret ballot and the rules of the game are well known: Palestinians almost always have a majority."
The draft decision is supposed to be voted upon by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO which meets once a year and consists of 21 representatives from the affiliate states.