Republican candidate Donald Trump reacted to the UNESCO decision on Thursday that Israel has no historic connection to the Temple Mount. In his criticism of UNESCO, Trump said he'll work to have Jerusalem internationally recognized as Israel's capital and would move the US Embassy, now in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem.
He also said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to defend Jerusalem's Jewish history.
“In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America,” Trump stated. “Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America.”
He called UNESCO's decision a "one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city” and “further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias” at the United Nations.
“Jerusalem is the enduring capital of the Jewish People and the overwhelming majority of Congress has voted to recognize Jerusalem as just that,” Trump wrote Thursday on Facebook.
“The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the UN.”
Trump also criticized the Obama administration for removing the word “Israel” from a document last month.
“The decision by the Obama Administration to strike the word ‘Israel’ after the word ‘Jerusalem’ in the President’s prepared text was a capitulation to Israel’s enemies, and a posthumous embarrassment to Shimon Peres, whose memory the President was attempting to honor,” Trump said.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called UNESCO's decision “absurd.”
“To declare that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids,” Netanyahu told Reuters.
President Reuven Rivlin said UNESCO's decision was an “embarrassment” for the UN body.
The decision, which refers to The Temple Mount and Western Wall by their Muslim names only, was criticized by lawmakers from both the left and right as not befitting UNESCO.
Nebraska Senator Republican Ben Sasse said, “This insanity shows that Israel’s adversaries are willing to go to any lengths to denigrate our ally. Not only does the U.N. pretend that there is moral equivalency between Israeli citizens and Palestinian terrorists, UNESCO goes out of its way to insult Israel.”
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said, “One-sided anti-Israel resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years.”
UNESCO called Israel on Thursday an "occupying power," claiming Israel has no historic ties to the Temple Mount and is "occupying" Jerusalem. In the resolution, UNESCO referred to the Temple Mount by its Muslim name only, and demanded Israel hand complete control over access to both the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque to the Arabs.
The draft also claimed Israel allowed Israeli citizens to provoke Palestinian Arabs and hindered Muslims' access to their "holy sites," supporting and encouraging PA officials.
Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the resolution Thursday afternoon, with six countries voting against and 26 abstaining.
The Executive Board of UNESCO is to approve the resolution next week.