Benjamin Netanyahu criticizes UNESCO resolution over al-Aqsa Mosque


This file photo shows the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Israeli Prime Minister has strongly condemned the latest resolution regarding the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which refers to the sacred site solely as a Muslim place.
“This is yet another absurd UN decision. UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said on Saturday. 
The UNESCO resolution refers to Israel as the “occupying power” at every mention, and uses the Arabic term al-Aqsa Mosque without ever calling it the Temple Mount used by Israelis. It also includes the Arabic al-Buraq Plaza when making reference to what Israelis call the Western Wall Plaza.
Additionally, the text accuses Tel Aviv of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and of “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”
It also blasts “restriction of access” to the site during Muslim holidays.

An Israeli border policeman frisks a Palestinian man at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), before the Friday prayer at the al-Aqsa Mosque on April 8, 2016. ©AFP

It also blasts “restriction of access” to the site during Muslim holidays.
Tensions have heightened in the occupied territories since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
At least 210 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

An Israeli soldier walks next to his tank on the Israeli border with the northern Gaza Strip near the southern Israeli village of Netiv Haasara on January 13, 2016. ©AFP

Elsewhere in the statement, UNESCO censured the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The siege “harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel and humanitarian relief items as well as the intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children, the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education, and requests Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately ease this blockade,” the resolution states.
Gaza has been blockaded since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

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