Mughrabi (Rambam) Bridge
Mughrabi (Rambam) BridgeIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers condemned on Thursday a decision by the Palestinian Authority to postpone five UNESCO resolutions against Israel.

"This step is like a reward to the occupation for its crimes and violations," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

"It is a contribution in erasing the Arabic and Islamic identity of Jerusalem, and it encourages the occupation to continue its Judaization program," Barhoum said.

The Hamas official added that no one had the right to compromise the rights of the Palestinian people.

Jordan said on Tuesday that Israel had agreed to allow a UN mission to "investigate and assess" heritage conservation in Jerusalem's Old City for the first time since 2004.

The agreement says that in turn, the PA would postpone resolutions against Israel it had planned to bring up before the UN’s cultural agency.

"Jordan and Palestine, supported by Arab states, succeeded in pressuring Israel, for the first time since 2004, to accept and facilitate a UNESCO experts' mission to investigate and assess the status of heritage and conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls," a palace statement said.

The mission will start its work on May 15 "and it has to present its report and recommendations before June 1st, 2013, just before the beginning of the World Heritage Committee 37th session," it added.

According to the palace, Israel confirmed its decision in a letter to UNESCO director general Irina Bokova and in a statement read out on Tuesday at a meeting in Paris of UNESCO's executive board.

The Mughrabi (Rambam) Gate links the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount. The City of Jerusalem’s engineer has said that the bridge to the Mughrabi Gate is structurally unsound, poses a risk to human life, and should be dismantled. This has enraged the Waqf, which was left in charge of the Temple Mount after Israel liberated the area during the Six Day War.

The Waqf insists the final decision in the matter is theirs, as they regard the Temple Mount as a Muslim sanctuary under their sole authority. They claim that no one else has a right to interfere or monitor their affairs. They deny Jewish connections to the Mount and destroy the Jewish antiquities there in a direct violation of a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Tuesday's announcement came after a deal was struck in March by which the Palestinian Authority confirmed a verbal agreement dating back to 1924 giving Jordan custodianship over Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the deal, saying it “represents important progress in the effort to get UNESCO out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to rightly focus attention on protecting world heritage sites.”