Two American lawmakers on Monday urged the American ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Crystal Nix-Hines, to block the Palestinian Authority’s draft resolution claiming the Western Wall (Kotel) as its own.
“It has come to our attention that tomorrow the UNESCO Executive Board may consider a draft resolution asserting, among other things, that the Western Wall is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” wrote the two lawmakers, Representatives Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and Ted Deutch (D-FL).
“As members of the United States Congress committed to promoting peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories through direct, bilateral negotiations aimed at a achieving a two-state solution, we urge you to use the voice and vote of the United States to prevent this draft resolution from advancing,” they added.
“The Palestinian draft – to be sponsored by the six Arab members on the Executive Board of UNESCO – also condemns Israel for measures taken by Israeli security forces following the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the West Bank, accuses Israel of violating the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and asserts that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb are part of the alleged Palestinian state,” noted Lowey and Deutch.
The two note the “appalling acts of terrorism” committed by Palestinians against innocent Israeli citizens over the past few weeks and added, “While this upsurge of violence has been characterized as ‘lone wolf attacks,’ the perpetrators have been influenced by the incitement of violence promoted by Palestinian leadership at the highest levels. The government of Israel has shown restraint in responding to the current crisis, but it cannot be expected to endure repeated attacks, some fatal, against its citizens.”
Lowey and Deutch note that “Palestinian efforts to claim exclusive ownership of religious sites such as the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Rachel’s Tomb – and their denial of any Jewish claims to these sites, although Jews have prayed in them for thousands of years, reveal a central obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Palestinian refusal to acknowledge the very existence of Jews in the ancient Jewish homeland.”
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political conflict between two peoples with competing national goals, and it should be addressed as such,” they wrote. “By proactively working to morph it into a religious conflict – through actions 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.”
Finally, they wrote, “We respectfully request that, as United States Ambassador to UNESCO, you use the influence of the United States to urge other Executive Board members not to adopt this resolution and to remove it from the agenda.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been actively working to combat the resolution.
"This is an attempt to distort history and to blur the connection between the Jewish people and its holiest place and create a false reality," the Foreign Ministry told Arutz Sheva on Monday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) openly condemned the move Monday, vowing it will "fail the test of reality."
"This shameful and deceitful attempt by the Palestinians rewriting of history will fail the test of reality," Hotovely stated. "The Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem are the cornerstones of Jewish history. They are historical facts that no one can dispute."
"[Yasser] Arafat's legacy of lies continues with Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas - ed.], which persists in all his actions to strive against coexistence and to distort history," she added.