The Temple Mount compound has been a repeated flash-point for clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. Here the third Israelite ruler, King Solomon built the First Jewish Temple approximately in 967 BC ( I King 6-9). After the Babylonians destroyed in 586 BC the Jews returning from exile built the Second Temple at the same site under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah in 346 BC ( Book of Ezra).
The Western Wall/Wailing Wall (Kotel Ma’aravi in Hebrew), the outer retaining wall of the Second Jewish Temple, is the holiest site where Jews today can pray, and sits at the bottom of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. A few steps away there is the most revered site of the Christians, Holy Saint Sepulcher, where Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified and resurrected.
The Muslim refer the Temple Mount as Haram al-Sharif, on it there is the golden Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, regarded by the Muslims as the third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The two Mosques were built and completed by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691 A.D.
Israel faces stiff fight in next few days over the newest UNESCO vote on Jerusalem. A resolution that would diminish the historic ties of the Jews and Christians to its holiest City Jerusalem is an effort to delegitimize Israel. Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims, Jews and Christians, and denying, negating or erasing the traditions of these religions will compromise the unity of the city. The Temple Mount including the Mosques and the Western Wall are a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982, and have been recorded as being holy to three religions- Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Think, to say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount is like saying that China (supporter of the resolution) has no connection to the Great Wall of China, Russia (supporter of the resolution) has no connection to the Kremlin in Moscow, Egypt (supporter of the resolution) has no connection to the Pyramids or that India (abstained on the resolution) has no connection to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Imagine, with the infamous resolution, we will have a new Bible to be re-written and revised by UNESCO. With “UNESCO revised edition of the Bible”, which has the word ‘temple’ replaced with Al-Aqsa Mosque/Ai-Haram al-Sharif, the new reboot verses will look like this:
I king 6-1 “….. in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, he began to build the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Ai-Haram al-Sharif (in place of House of the Lord)”. Mathew 21:12 “And Jesus went into the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Ai-Haram al-Sharif( in place of temple of God), and cast out of them that sold and bought in the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Ai-Haram al-Sharif, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers….”
This is really dangerous. UNESCO is not just responsible for protecting this heritage site, but for ensuring the preservation of their historical integrity as well, lest humanity’s past become subjected to the current political and religious agenda of a few.
Unless UNESCO pulls up its socks, the price of failure could be more damaging to the cause of world heritage than all the wars of world. The UNs chief agent responsible for safeguarding and promoting the educational, scientific and cultural heritage of the world is crumbling under the weight of bureaucracy and political tools.
UNESCO by supporting the infamous resolution is simply embarrassing itself. We can understand criticism, but we cannot understand changing history.