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Miami Herald Columnist: UNESCO Decision is a “Step Against Reconciliation and Peace”

Last week’s UNESCO resolution denying the historical links between Judaism and Jerusalem is one that “denies reality, that erases facts and, most importantly, one that marks a step against reconciliation and peace,” Frida Ghitis wrote in her Miami Herald column Thursday.

In addition to “embolden[ing] extremists,” Ghitis wrote, the resolution “confirms Israelis’ fears that the international community, especially the United Nations, remains committed to an anti-Israel agenda.”

Ghitis criticized a number of European countries for failing “to tap into their courage and integrity” by voting against the resolution, which is “an effort to delegitimize the existence of the world’s only Jewish state.”

“The one-sided, anti-Israel text was written by Palestinians,” Ghitis observed, adding that it was “introduced by seven Arab countries, including Sudan, whose president has been indicted for war crimes for the genocide in Darfur, and Egypt, which has relations with Israel but whose government apparently has not broken with the practice of promoting lies about Israel to bolster popular support.”

She described the Temple Mount as “the holiest sites in Judaism,” and that the existence of the Temples there is backed by “overwhelming archaeological and historical evidence — in addition to the Jewish bible and the Christian gospels.” Yet in the UNESCO resolution, “Jewish and Christian history does not exist. Jews surface only in the present, as a malevolent force, mercilessly attacking Palestinians for no reason at all.”

Ghitis noted that while the resolution called the plaza where Jews pray daily by its Arabic name, the Buraq Plaza, it uses quotes around the term “Western Wall Plaza” as if “to question the place’s connection to Judaism.”

The resolution was such a travesty that UNESCO director general Irina Bokova blasted it, saying that “to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of” the city as a World Heritage site. On the other hand, Ghitis observed, the terrorist group Hamas did praise the resolution.

“Anyone deluded enough to think this vote would help bring about a Palestinian state got it tragically wrong,” Ghitis concluded. “It accomplished exactly the opposite.”

Palestinian attempts to erase or cast doubt on the well-established historical connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish faith, which The New York Times noted in October of last year, is a phenomenon that former Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold described as “Temple denial.” Days after the Times report, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed that the Temple Mount has been the site of a mosque “since the creation of the world” and that it never housed a Jewish temple, despiteample evidence to the contrary.

David Hazony, editor of The Tower, wrote in 2007 that “Palestinian leaders, writers, and scholars have embarked on a campaign of intellectual erasure…aimed at undermining the Jewish claim to any part of the land,” of which Temple denial is a component.

The latest Temple denial claims validated what Petra Marquardt-Bigman wrote in The Tower earier this week, when she called the UNESCO decision a reward for “almost a century of Palestinian intransigence and deadly incitement.”

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