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UN agency ignores Jewish ties to Temple Mount

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stands at a point overlooking a wooden ramp leading up from Judaism's Western Wall to the sacred compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine stand, in Jerusalem's Old City on Dec. 12, 2011. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

(RNS) Jewish groups are deploring passage of a U.N. agency resolution that highlights Muslim ties but ignores Jewish connections to the Temple Mount.

The resolution of the United Nations’ cultural arm passed Thursday (Oct. 13) 24-6 with 26 abstentions and condemns Israel’s “escalating aggressions” at the Temple Mount, the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The resolution, put forward by Palestinian representatives to UNESCO, does not mention the significance to Jews of the Western Wall that flanks the mount. The Western Wall is regarded as the holiest site in Judaism.

“Let’s be clear what’s at work here,” said American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris. “This is another attempt to undermine the very foundation of the state of Israel and the documented, age-old historical Jewish connection to the land.”

The resolution calls out the Jewish state for incursions at the Temple Mount and refers to it only by its Arabic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” While the measure notes Jerusalem’s importance to the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — it disregards Jewish religious and historic connections to the Temple Mount.

Muslims and Jews have long charged each other with incitement at the site. Palestinians condemn Israelis for limiting their access to it. The top of this mount was, according to the Quran, where the Prophet Muhammad landed in 620 on his night journey to heaven. The Temple Mount is administered by a waqf, or Islamic trust. But Israel ultimately controls access to it.

Israelis charge Palestinians with abusing Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, which sits below the mosque and is believed to be a remnant of the retaining wall of the Jewish temple destroyed in the year 70.

Jews also consider the top of the mount holy ground — the place where Abraham offered to sacrifice Isaac. Although they may ascend the mount, Jews are forbidden from praying there. Some extreme right-wing Jews have agitated for the construction of a third temple at the site.

READ: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: A launching pad for holy wars? 

Muslim-majority countries threw their support behind the resolution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan voted in favor.

Israeli diplomats had pressed European countries to vote against it, and many abstained; none voted for it. Several European nations had supported a similar UNESCO resolution that passed 33-6 in April.

The six countries voting against the resolution were: the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia.

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)


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  • What makes the UN think they have any authority over God’s temple mount let alone think the Jews would listen to them. The Jews made a mistake when they won the war to get their country back and didn’t exile all the infidels.

  • This will all play out properly in the end. The Lord is not slow in fulfilling His Word and Promises as some men count slowness, with the Lord a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. I typically hesitate to prophesy, but I’m quite certain that the unrest in and around Israel/Palestine will not cease until the day that the Lord returns to reclaim His people, His land, and His earth from the deceiver and the deceived.

  • The UN apparently does not abide by reality. Well not to worry, God has the apple of His eye and will do what is necessary for them. We may actually see a great movement by God for His people Israel.

  • It is as dangerous to the State of Israel to talk about “G-d is going to do” on the historical site of the Temple Mount as it is to talk about God destroying those who do not accept Islam along with the State of Israel! The UN was of course wrong in this resolution for not mentioning the historical and legitimate connection of the Jewish people to this place. It was wrong to refer to it by its Islamic name only. If the world is to survive, like it or not such places should belong to no one but protected for everyone, Christian holy places included.

  • “Israel” refers to God Consciousness not a piece of real estate. Don’t forget that in the late 1800’s Zionists wanted to make Argentina their homeland, then, later in 1903, Uganda. It doesn’t seem to matter to Zionists then or now that they are invading other people’s homeland.

  • Those “infidels” were living peacefully in Palestine with other Jews long before the Zionists began their creeping invasion.

  • Let them use their religion to destroy each other over religious shrines. The hate is so deep rooted it will likely never cool. The British and the UN picked a bad time to allow the formation of Israel – the beginnings of post-colonial pan-arabism and the resurgence of political Islam. The UN is decidedly pro Palestinian and Israel has few allies in the world.

  • “The resolution calls out the Jewish state for incursions at the Temple Mount and refers to it only by its Arabic name, ‘Al-Shal-Haram al-Sharif.'”

    So what if it only uses the Muslim term for the site??

    The rest of your article only uses the Jewish term for the site. If you want to complain about bias in name choice, try using BOTH names YOURSELF throughout the article rather than sticking to the one you prefer.

    Because if you complain that they only call it the “Noble Sanctuary” while you yourself only use the word “Temple Mount” outside of that one complaint, you look like a complete hypocrite.

  • So were the Indians in the USA are you willing to give your land back to them? Fact is the Palestinians didn’t exist before 1948 and they started out as a terrorist group to begin with. But don’t let HISTORY prove you a liar because the country was known as ISRAEL for thousands of years in the past.

  • Your ignorance is appalling.

    Palestine has been settled for tens of thousands of years. Jews were not and are not the only semetic people in Palestine. Hebrews only invaded Canaan between 1800 and 1500 BC. Jerusalem fell to King David’s only in 1000BC.

    In 1895 the total population of Palestine was approximately 500,000. Of this population, about 453,000 were Palestinian and some 47,000 were Jews.

    What some refer to as “Israel” today has been known by various names throughout history.

    Incidentally, the “Israel” mentioned in the Old Testament/Torah is not a piece of real estate but rather a state of God Consciousness.

    UN Resolution 3379 that condemned Zionism as a form of racism.

    UN Resolutions 181, 194, 237, 242, 271, 446, 478, 605, 2535, 3236, all recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property. These resolutions also recognize the illegality of all Jewish actions in Palestine beyond the borders of the UN sanctioned partition.

  • The UN has no authority in any country but those like you are stupid enough to think so. As for your 10,000 of thousands of years the burden of proof is on you and we both know you’re an anti-Semitic bigoted liar.

    In 136 in Judea, which had then the status of the “friend of Rome”
    vassal state(it means that Judaea had their own king who had to be
    approved by Rome, and was governed by its laws, not by the Roman ones,
    although the crimes against the Emperor and The People of Rome were in
    the scope of Rome jurisdiction) the Bar Kokhba revolt started. It was
    not the first revolt; Jews were rebelling against Rome regularly and
    deserved in Rome the fame of a very stubborn and troublsome subdits. But
    this revolt was especially hard. The revolt lasted for 4 years, it cost
    lives to over 600,000 Jews and to dozens of thousands of Roman
    soldiers. The suppression of the revolt cost Rome so dear that after
    quelling it, the Emperor Adrian, in order to punish Jews and to
    eradicate from their soul any idea of their Israel identity and
    belonging to this land ordered to rename Israel and Judaea in

    The trick was that the “Palestinians”, the non-semitic people who came
    to the Land of Canaan from Greece( they were not semitic people) at
    approximately the same time as Jews were the mortal enemies of the Jews
    and the wars between Jews and Palestinians for the rule over the land
    raged for hundreds years(read the story of David and Goliath or Samson
    and Dalila). Finally, Jews defeated Palestinians.

    So, by renaming Israel and Judaea in “Palestine” Roman wanted to
    humiliate Jews, deprive them of the centuries nourished idea of
    belonging to this land and also make them – and the world- forget the
    true name of this land: Judaea and Israel.

    Adrian also ordered to rename Jerusalem in Aelea Capitolina, but the
    trick with Jerusalem did not work; the world went on calling it by its
    traditional name: Jerusalem.

    But the trick with renaming Judea and Israel in Palestine was
    successfull, and since then the official name used in the West for
    Israel and Judea was Palestine. Later this name became common not only
    for the territory of Judea and Israel, but also for the territory where
    now Gaza, Jordan, Southern part of Lebanon and Southern part of Syria
    are situated.

    But until 1967, all the world knew that the native inhabitants of
    Palestine were Jews. The word “Jew” was a synonym of the word
    “Palestinian”. And to call an Arab who lived in Palestine ” a Palestinian” was considered by such an Arab an offense.

    So there is history proving you a liar. So what was that about tens of thousands of years? Oh yeah it was just a lie.

    So again the land was Israel and Judea then renamed Palestine then back to Israel. So historically even though it was renamed Jews ALWAYS occupied their own country.

  • The history of the settlement of Palestine is a matter of historical record. Look it up.

    Your “history” starts at 136 AD. Very selective. And wrong. Palestinians are semitic people just as were Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Ammonites, Amorites, Arameans, Chaldeans, and Canaanites (which includes Palestinians, Samaritans, Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Jews.

    While some Palestinians may have Greek ancestry so do many other Mediterranean peoples, not surprising considering the Greeks colonized much of the Mediterranean shores.

    But not all Palestinians are of Greek descent. Learn about Venn diagramming.

    In addition, however, human remains found at El-‘Ubeidiya, 2 miles (3 km) south of Lake Tiberias date back as early as 500,000 years ago.The discovery of the prehistoric Palestine Man in the Zuttiyeh Cave in Wadi Al-Amud near Safad in 1925 provided some clues to human development in the area.

    In the caves of Shuqba in Ramallah and Wadi Khareitun in Bethlehem, stone, wood and animal bone tools were found and attributed to the Natufian culture (c. 12800–10300 BCE). Other remains from this era have been found at Tel Abu Hureura, Ein Mallaha, Beidha and Jericho.

    Between 10000 and 5000 BCE, agricultural communities were established. Evidence of such settlements were found at Tell es-Sultan, Jericho and include mud-brick rounded and square dwellings, pottery shards, and fragments of woven fabrics.

    In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the slogan, “A land without people for a people without land” was used to justify the Zionist invasion of Palestine completely without regard to the truth that at that time 500,000 Palestinians and only 47,000 Jews were living in Palestine and living peacefully together I might add.

    So, once again, your selective Jewish history of the Jewish invasion of Palestine begins in 136 AD is self-serving and wrong. Palestinians are semitic people. Because Palestinians are semitic people, one cannot be accused of being anti-semitic for being in favour of equal rights for Palestinians, a two-state solution, right of return for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians forced out of their homes by Zionists, and Jerusalem as an international city policed by the U.N.

    And Jews have not “always occupied their own country” they like to occupy the country of others and have a long, well-documented history of doing so.. Jews invaded Canaan. The notion of “Eretz Yisrael” should more accurately be known as “Ersatz Israel”.

  • Well if what you think is true then how could the Palestinians war with Israel if Israel wasn’t called Israel? ? BTW you can’t prove your stupid ASSUMED 500,000 years ago claim.

  • That the human remains found at El-‘Ubeidiya, 2 miles (3 km) south of Lake Tiberias date back as early as 500,000 years ago is a matter of public record.

    More significantly it is not the Palestinians who wage war with Israel. It is Zionists who are in the process of a 135 year old creeping invasion of Palestine. Palestinians are merely attempting to protect themselves, their families, their lands and their homes from the disgusting predations of invading Zionists.

  • I do not dispute the joint occupation of the land for many centuries, that said, your claim that the Jewish people only arrived in Palestine/Canaan around 700 B.C. is patently incorrect and not supported by evidence which conflicts with that which you have averred. The “Greater Israel” stories to which your refer, whether written on scrolls or other media is not to the point at all, that is , the media used. Additionally, I’m surprised you even refer to it as the “Holy Land,” because, if the Jews are latter day interlopers, then the basis for calling it the “Holy Land” is called into serious question, which I don’t think reflects the historic or spiritual reality. Though in the arc of history I don’t think that God is finally concerned about questions of geography. As to the Palestinians, every person and class of humanity is worthy of consideration and humane regard, but I don’t think the Israeli government rise to the level of oppression you and others attest, there has been evidence of grievous and egregious acts on both sides of the question, an all too human trait. UN resolutions are useless in any event, I can only think of one world conflict where they may have had a mild ameliorating affect, and that was during the Korean War, where a truce was achieved largely by force of US arms. The UN is utterly feckless. Lastly, there is nothing in the bible that is, “so much fiction.” which you will either discover eventually to your blessing or regret.

  • Knowing DNA only last for about 1,000 years your matter of public record is built on nothing but assumption and conjecture and a known fallacy. And yes it’s that obvious by your post you’re an anti-Semitic bigot. I’ll ask you again when are you going to give your land back to the native Indians otherwise your stupid argument about the Palestinians is moot. BTW who exactly are carrying on terrorist activities in ISRAEL…….hint……not the Jews. Yeah another peaceful religion in your warped eyes eh? Oh wait they’re muslims too eh?

  • Each time that you use the argument of the silliness of giving North American land back to the Indians you are destroying the Zionist argument that Palestine is their land because some of their ancestors invaded it and used to live there. Keep it up.

    It is the Zionists who engage in terrorist activities every single day, all day, against Palestinians. Palestinians who fight back are merely defending themselves, their families and their livelihoods. Zionists and “israel” should be tried for war crimes at the Hague.

  • Yes I realize you bought into your antisemitism lock stock and barrel. And know I won’t attempt to dissuade you from your 1st amendments rights to you pagan religion. But you can’t say you weren’t made aware of the truth. The fact is some people are just that compliant to lies and deceptions that are neither provable or historical that they remain in a stupor because of said PROPAGANDA of revisionists…….you. So then you’re going to insist on defending those that are known for over 90% of all terrorist activities all over the world.

  • To be honest and you’re obviously not how exactly in your foolish mind do you justify your mentally deficient argument that the terrorist Palestinians have more rights to Israel than the Native Indians do over the USA? Please be specific I need a good laugh and liberal logic always seems to fulfill that desire.

  • Of course, one cannot be anti-semitic and support the struggle of the Palestinians because the Palestinians are semitic people. You mean anti-Zionist. It is the Zionists who have been busy revising/rewriting history to justify their invasion of Palestine.

  • Your ignorance knows no bounds. You need to be aware that even though mastodons went extinct about 11,000 years ago, their DNA has been recently transplanted into functioning elephant cells.

  • Each time that you use the argument of the silliness of giving North American land back to the Indians you are destroying the Zionist argument that Palestine is their land because some of their ancestors invaded it and used to live there. Keep it up.

  • Anybody that bought into the religion of “evolution” fallacy can’t be intelligent enough to have an credible conversation.

    First things first and that is the religion of “evolution” doesn’t fit any scientific criteria. So I’ll educate you on those facts…..

    based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

    Your dinosaurs have never ever been observed……

    Scientific theory – a way in which scientist or individuals seek to explain “broadly” regularities existing in objects and certain events. They are both posited and observed by the researcher. The researcher contends what he finds based upon “empirical” laws or evidence. In order to explain these events the researcher is guided by three principles, careful observation, reporting of regularities or non regularities, and finally systematic explanation (theories).

    Notice your claims are quelled by lack of observation once again.

    Nature is objective whether we want to believe it or not. Science is a methodology applied to nature by fallible, prejudiced humans.

    You sir are neither objective nor educated on TRUE science.

  • And you look the more foolish not being able to defend yourself when facts are presented you can’t explain. So at least try to show some semblance of honesty. The only thing I proved is whomever won the last war possesses the land. I know you can comprehend that fact but I exposed you for what you are a fool.

  • If I seem to have said otherwise, let me clarify, The Lord’s people are indeed the genuinely sincere believers in Jesus Christ, and who have received Him as Savior, and it follows that it is His Heart’s Desire that all people, men, women, children, of whatever nation, race, or ethnicity would so believe, but not all people will make that choice.

  • It was called Temple Mount (Har Habayit in Hebrew) for more than 1,000 years before the Muslims conquered our Holy Land, co-opted the site and made up a legend to go with it. Therefore, to Jews–and many others–it will always and only be the Temple Mount. In fact, I’ve been around a long time, and I’d never heard the term Haram al Sharif until a couple of years ago. My feeling is, how dare the Muslims co-opt our holiest site and insist that everyone use the name they gave it, especially since they are trying to “prove” the site belonged to them. What chutzpah!!!

  • Baloney! There is credible evidence that Kings David and Solomon existed and that Hebrews (Jews) were present in large numbers since at least 1000 BCE. There were, indeed, other tribes coexisting with the Jews, among them the Amorites, the Perrizites, Jebusites, Girgashites, Hittites, Hivites, and Canaanites (who are thought to be early Hebrews who had not gone to Egypt at the time of the putative Joseph). Archaeological excavations keep turning up Jewish artifacts and buildings going back farther and farther in the past, as well as some contemporaneous historical accounts by other nations. In short, your comments on Hebrew history are based on ignorance and antisemitism. As for the Wailing Wall, it is heavily documented to belong to the Second Temple, restored by Herod, who was not a Roman. Furthermore, your contention that modern Israel has violated the UN mandate by “splitting Palestine in two” is ludicrous, given the fact that the Palestinian Arabs (backed by 5 other Arab countries) rejected a two-part state voted on in the UN in 1948, and made war on the Palestinian Jews, attempting to drive the Jews out so that they (the Arabs) could own the whole land (Jew-free). Guess what? The Jews won, which by rights and the rules of war, meant that the Jews were entitled to the whole country, but they gave over large chunks of it to the Palestinian Arabs (who were not called “Palestinians” until Arafat showed up from Egypt). The Jews (now called Israelis) even gave up Gaza, without a fight, because it was becoming too expensive and too much trouble to try to govern it. Then Hamas took over and Gaza became a terrorist enclave, imprisoning its own people and making them into human sacrifices and human shields. Read some real history, schmuck!

  • Right, but this doesn’t take away HaShem’s election of Israel as his covenant people. All the people who believe in Yeshua as Messiah of Israel are HaShem’s people because of their inidividual faith and faithfulness, and this is the basis of their blessing in the World to Come. But the House of Israel is elected on a national basis to be HaShem’s priestly nation while this world stands. The existence of Jewish nation and its Torah observance is the background basis for HaShem’s gracious dealings with the world at large.

  • “Therefore, to Jews–and many others–it will always and only be the Temple Mount”

    So what?? If someone’s going to write an article whining about people using their own preferred name of choice and not the author’s preferred name of choice, he can definitely well use both names in his article if he’s not just being a hypocrite.

    “It was called Temple Mount (Har Habayit in Hebrew) for more than 1,000 years before the Muslims conquered our Holy Land, co-opted the site and made up a legend to go with it.”

    And it hasn’t been yours for nearly two-thousand years. Since 70 CE when the Hellenists took it over from you and established it as a Temple to Jupiter. It existed as such for four hundred years, then it was demolished by the Christians. Then later it was a Byzantine Church. Then there was a brief moment where it was almost the Temple again, but it was torn down again and turned into a Christian garbage dump. Then Muslims took over the dump and built a Mosque. Then it was a shrine and a mosque. Then four hundred years passed, the Christians conquered it, and it became a church. That lasted for a little under a hundred years and it was a mosque again. And it’s been that for over eight hundred years.

    At some point in time, regardless of whom the land was originally stolen from, the land’s ownership must be considered changed. At some point in time, you just have to MOVE ON. I cannot go to Spain and declare that the land of my Celtiberian ancestors must be returned to me because of the myriad of conquests of the land that have occurred over the past millennia. I think you’d find it ludicrous for Gaelic persons to assert ownership over the parts of modern Spain which were stolen from their ancestors over two-thousand years ago.

    Maybe you’d have a point if you were the VERY first people on that land before the countless instances of the land being seized and conquered over and over again… but you aren’t. You too participated in this cycle of conquest and stole the land from the Canaanites. I’m sure the people of Canaan had a name for Mount Moriah long before the name “Har Habayit” was used. Why not go back to that name??

    In fact, why call it “Israel”?? It was “Canaan” long before Jacob/Israel was even born.

    And on the topic of the name that should be used:
    First Temple: 957 BCE – 586 BCE, 371 Years
    Second Temple: 516 BCE – 70 CE, 586 Years
    Aqsa Mosque: 691 CE – 1099 CE, 408 Years,
    Christian Site: 1099-1187, 88 years
    Aqsa Mosque Back in Muslim Hands, 1187 CE – Today, 829 Years and Counting

    Time as a Jewish Temple: 957 Years
    Time as a Muslim Mosque: 1,237 Years

    Looks to me like it’s been a Muslim place of worship for a longer period of time. Perhaps it’s time to move on and accept that it’s someone else’s now. Heaven knows you aren’t helping me plot reconquest of Celtiberia.