US lawmakers attack 'anti-Israeli' UNESCO resolution on al-Aqsa access

US lawmakers attack 'anti-Israeli' UNESCO resolution on al-Aqsa access
39 US lawmakers have signed a letter criticising UNESCO resolution 25, which 'prioritises the Muslim heritage of the Old City' and calls for 'free access' to the Aqsa mosque.
2 min read
11 October, 2016
The resolution "strongly condemns" Israeli measures "against the freedom of worship" at al-Aqsa mosque[Corbis News]
Thirty-nine US law-makers signed a joint letter to UNESCO on Tuesday, calling on the UN agency to reject an agenda item that "strongly condemns" Israel.

The letter, led by republicans Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, calls on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to oppose the UN's perceived "hostility" towards Israel.

"The United Nations’ obsessive hostility towards Israel will be on display yet again this week as UNESCO considers another blatantly biased resolution that unjustly singles out our close ally Israel with false accusations and criticism," said Sen. Cruz.

Resolution 25, titled "occupied Palestine", was tabled by a number of Arab nations, and "strongly condemns" Israeli measures "against the freedom of worship" at the al-Aqsa mosque site. It also calls for a priority on "the Muslim heritage of the Old City, while diminishing the ties of either of the other religions".

The resolution is an extension of resolution 19, which "deeply deplores the failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem" and "firmly deplores" the "continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque" by "right-wing extremists and uniformed forces".

The letter from the US lawmakers, which is littered with spelling and grammar mistakes, criticises resolution 25 in strong terms, for attempting to "undermine" Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem.

"For thousands  of years, Jerusalem has played a defining, central role in the history and identity of the Jewish people," said Cruz. 

"Recent archeological excavations, notably in the City of David, have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence that reaffirms Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city of Jerusalem.

"Members of the UNESCO Executive Board should vote against this intentional campaign to deny these historical truths, rewrite the history of Jerusalem, and delegitimize Israel.”

In October 2015, Israel accused the agency of "fanning tensions in the region" after resolution 19, titled "Occupied Palestine", was originally passed.