UN speaks of Temple Mount as solely Muslim site, ignores Jewish ties

Written by on November 5, 2020

“Unlike this chamber which is detached from reality, a growing number of nations are acknowledging Jerusalem,” said Gilad Erdan.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem

(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

Some 138 United Nations countries approved a draft resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount solely as an Islamic holy site, by referencing it only by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.

It was one of seven pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel resolutions that the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee in New York passed on Wednesday.

The resolution was titled, “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem.”

The text did affirm the connection between Jerusalem and three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Still the reference in the text to the Temple Mount, the location of the ancient Jewish Temple and the most holy site in Judaism, solely by its Muslim name is viewed as an attempt by UN member states to delegitimize and erase that well known history.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the passage of the text “a disgrace.” He added, “No resolution passed here will change the eternal connection between the Jewish people and the holiest site of our faith – Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount,” Erdan said.

“For years, the Palestinians have promoted language that includes only the Muslim term of “Haram al-Sharif” and purposely excludes the Jewish name – Temple Mount,” he said.

Nine countries, including Israel, voted against the resolution. These were: Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Hungary, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and the United States.

Hungary’s opposition marked a dramatic change in policy for the country, which last year supported the text, which similarly had the al-Haram, al-Sharif reference. But Papa New Guinea which had opposed the text, last year, softened its stance this year and abstained.

All total 16 countries abstained this year, compared to 13 last year. Serbia, which opposed the resolution last year was among them. Malawi, which was absent from the vote last year.  

The other countries that abstained this year were: Austria, Belarus, Cameroon, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Honduras, Kiribati, Sao Tome Principe, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Togo, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

Overall, the number of countries that support the text also dropped from 154 countries last year.  

Passage of the UN resolution took place as the Trump administration has increased its efforts to underscore Israel’s link to Jerusalem, which is the capital of the modern state of Israel. This has included pushing UN member states to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as a sign of affirmation that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, something that most of the international community is loathe to recognize. To date only the United States and Guatemala have moved their embassies to Jerusalem, but a number of others have promised to do so, such as Honduras, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Kosovo, Serbia and Malawi.

“A growing number of countries are moving their embassies to Jerusalem, our united and undivided capital,” Erdan told the Un.

“Unlike this chamber, which is detached from reality, a growing number of nations are acknowledging that Jerusalem is the undeniable capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” Erdan said.  

Still, some of the countries that have spoken of relocating their embassies such as the Dominican Republican and Brazil, still supported the resolution.Twenty-three European Union states did so as well.

Erdan told UN member states that their “support has emboldened the Palestinians to not only deny the Jewish connection to these sites, but to deny Muslims access to them, too, while threatening violence. By supporting these resolutions you share responsibility for this behavior.”

A German representative, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, said that in spite of the support of many of the member states, the EU opposed the solely using al-Haram, al-Sharif to describe the Temple Mount. He stressed the “need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historic significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions.“

It was almost precisely the same statement the EU made last year, along with the same warning that it might pull its support from the resolution unless that language was changed. “The future choice of language may effect the EU’s support of this resolution,” the German representative warned.

The Palestinian representative thanked the UN member states for their support, which is the “clearest answer to the hostile, undiplomatic statement and false accusations and distortions made by the Israeli representative in this hall.”

She added that the resolutions were “fully in line with International law.”

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