Palestinians have withdrawn their demand that the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization declare the Western Wall an “integral part” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Israeli officials said Wednesday.Declaring Rachel's Tomb a Muslim site is especially egregious. I wrote in 2009 that Muslims didn't start calling it the "Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque" until the 1990s..
The resolution — which the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board is scheduled to vote on Wednesday — still contains a request to recognize Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as Muslim sites. Israeli diplomats said they would continue to fight the resolution, and try to get allied states to reject it.
In addition, the Palestinians seek condemnation of ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and elsewhere in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as of the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”
In an effort to garner support for the motion, some of the most incendiary language was removed or exchanged for less provocative terms.
Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, confirmed to Israel Radio Wednesday that the Palestinian delegation had proposed a new version of the controversial resolution, removing the clause that would have declared the Western Wall a Muslim site.
He said the initial proposal had met with opposition from a range of countries including Russia, China and even Cuba.
On Tuesday, the head of the United Nations cultural agency said she “deplored” the proposal. The move, Irina Bokova warned on UNESCO’s website, “could be seen to alter the status of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls and incite further tensions.”
The executive board had been scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution submitted by Arab states that would officially recognize the Western Wall as part of the Muslim holy site, but Bokova postponed the vote until Wednesday.
In a statement, Bokova called on the UNESCO board “to take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”
PA textbooks changed their name for the site from Rachel's Tomb to Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in 2001.
an Ottoman decree in 1830:
In 1830, the Turks issued the firman that gave legal force to Rachel’s Tomb being recognized as a Jewish holy site. Additionally, notes the JCPA’s Nadav Shragai, the governor of Damascus sent a written order to the mufti of Jerusalem to fulfill the sultan’s order:
“This is our order to you: [The following matter] was submitted to us by the subject of our order, the sage representative of honored Jerusalem’s Jewry and his translator that the tomb of esteemed Rachel, the mother of our Lord Joseph... They [the Jews] are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them [from doing] this... It turned out that at this holy site, they have been visiting since ancient times, without any person preventing them or trespassing on their property and they [have it] as was their custom. In accordance with the respected judgment, I order that our commandment be issued to you so you will treat them accordingly without addition or without subtraction, without hindrance and without opposition to them by anyone in any way whatsoever – written August 10, 1830.”
An additional firman from April 1831 was issued “To inform and demonstrate to all interested parties and the appointed officials, the right of the Jews who are residents of holy Jerusalem to visit the grave of Rachel, the mother of the Prophet Joseph, peace be upon him, without hindrance... Rendered in Istanbul at the end of the month of Shawwal in the year 1246 to the Hejira. Signed: The Sublime Porte.”
This episode proves that when the PLO demanded to join UNESCO, it was not to promote any sort of educational or cultural goals - it was entirely to erase Jewish history from the Land of Israel. It is doing the opposite of UNESCO's mandate.
If UNESCO had a shred of decency, it would suspend "Palestine" as a member for its offensive and sickening attempts to politicize the institution, just as it is trying to hijack every other international body it joins to put pressure on Israel.
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