UNESCO denial of the Jewish link to Jerusalem
Letter to the Chairperson of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Ms. Lale Ulkër
We firmly ask UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to adopt an impartial and rigorous approach to history and politics regarding the Jerusalem Old City, precisely because it is one of the cores of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
2016-10-18 by Friends of Israel Initiative
Considering the UNESCO’s position adopted by its Executive Board in its Draft Decision (200EX/PX/DR.25.2) passed on last October 13 on Jerusalem Old City, we kindly ask you to consider the following reasons in regard to the next World Heritage Committee to take place October 24-26 in the UNESCO headquarters and concretely about the resolution “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” (c148 rev – Decision 40 COM7A.13):
- Jerusalem Old City is a disputed territory, and according to the Oslo Accords, its final status shall be agreed in direct and bilateral negotiations.
- The most renowned historical and archeological authorities recognize the ancient link of the Jewish People to Jerusalem. In this regard, Jerusalem is mentioned in the Old Testament on 656 occasions, it became the capital of the first Jewish Kingdom in 10004 B.C. and as the philosopher and professor Sari Nusseibeh, former Palestinian Authority's former appointed representative in Jerusalem and Al Quds University President, said in 2001 “I would be blind to disclaim the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.”
- Since Israel retook East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967, the religious authority in the Temple Mount has been held by the Jordanian Waqif —and it had under the Jordanian occupation (1949-1967) — in order to respect the Muslim holy sites in the Old City. Since then Israel has guaranteed the access to the Temple Mount to all the Muslim citizens and has safeguarded the integrity of the Old City —and has improved it.
- All the public works and civil engineering projects under controversy are aimed to improve the life of Jerusalemites and the infrastructures of the Old City; and all of them respect the holy sites of the three faiths in the Old City, as Israel has been doing since 1967.
- Israel authorities guarantee as well the freedom of access to the Temple Mount, where the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located. Israel is the only Middle-Eastern country where freedom of religion is respected and promoted. The measures have only been carried out to assure the security of the citizens and visitors in Jerusalem. To this concern, it is worth recalling the wave of indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians that lasts until today, it started in October 2015 in the Temple Mount, so the security situation is still fragile and needs control and surveillance.
Due all these considerations, we firmly ask UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to adopt an impartial and rigorous approach to history and politics regarding the Jerusalem Old City, precisely because it is one of the cores of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Hon. José María Aznar, former President of Spain
Hon. Lord David William Trimble, Former First Minister of Northern Ireland. Nobel Peace Prize in 1998
Hon. John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia
Hon. Alejandro Toledo, Former President of Peru
Hon. Luis Alberto Lacalle, Former President of Uruguay
Mr. John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada
Mr. Uri Rosenthal, former Foreign Minister of Holland
Ambassador Giulio Terzi, Former Foreign Minister of Italy
Professor Andrew Roberts, British historian and writer
Richard Kemp, Colonel (R.) British Army
Allen B.West, Lieutenant Colonel (R.). Member of 112th US Congress
Mr. Bill Richardson, Former Governor of New Mexico
Mr. Vikran Sood, Former Head of India’s Foreign Intelligence Agency.
Mr. Roberto F. Agostinelli, Managing Director at Rhône Group, Rhone Capital
Mr. George Weigel, distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Mr. Carlos Alberto Montaner, Exiled Cuban author and journalist
Professor Marcello Pera, Italian philosopher and politician
Ms. Fiamma Nirenstein, Italian politician, journalist and author
Mr. Carlos Bustelo, Former Industry Minister of Spain
Mr. Rafael L. Bardají, Executive Director Friends of Israel Initiative