By Lukman Harees –
“If the General Assembly were to vote by 121 votes to 1 in favour of “Israel” returning to the armistice lines – (pre June 1967 borders) “Israel” would refuse to comply with the decision.” Aba Eban (the Israeli Foreign Minister) stated arrogantly. New York Times June 19, 1967
The UNESCO Resolution on “Occupied Palestine” which was endorsed recently by its’ Executive Board comprising representatives from 58 states, and approved by 24 votes to 6, with 26 abstentions and two absentees, has already raised a hornet’s nest. Sri Lanka was among the abstentions. The situation stems from many misrepresentations about this Resolution, painted misleadingly by several news outlets fed by Zionist controlled Media over the past week, that UNESCO seems to have given short shrift to the Temple Mount, the most holy site in Jerusalem and has denied that the Temple Mount was ever the home of Jewish temples.
A cursory glance of a Google search on this subject will prove this contention. Few of those headlines were ‘UNESCO adopts resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Temple Mount’, ‘UNESCO resolution is a ‘disgrace to intelligent people,’ ‘UNESCO backs motion nullifying Jewish ties to Temple Mount’. The Guardian UK even changed its headline of one of its’ articles on the subject from ‘Israeli Anger at UNESCO Motion condemning ‘aggressions’ at Holy Site’ TO ‘ Israeli Anger at UNESCO Motion’s Failure to Link Holy Site to Judaism.’ (Thursday 13 October 2016). However, any sane and objective reading of the Resolution, in the backdrop of the circumstances which led to its’ adoption will show that the version rolled out by the biased Media, was not exactly the case, though usually perception may seem as reality. An unwary world was therefore misled to believe that the crux of the Resolution was to deny Jewish ties to this historic site, which was far from the truth.
Undeniably, two temples — the most sacred sites for the Jewish people in both ancient times and today — once resided at the Temple Mount. For Muslims the Temple Mount is known as Al-Haram al-Sharif (“the noble sanctuary”) and is the place where Prophet Muhammad (S) ascended to heaven. It contains the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which both survive to the present day, making the site, one of the holiest sites for Muslims.. The site is also important to Christians. The Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended to heaven, is located just to the east and the fourth century Church of the Holy Sepulchre is also located near the Temple Mount.
The Resolution, which contains 41 sections, does not deny the existence of Jewish temples on the Temple Mount; in fact, it affirmed “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” The Resolution clearly notes that Israel is violating Muslims’ freedom of worship by hindering and preventing their access to the Aqsa Mosque; “deplores the continuous storming” of the mosque compound by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces; decries arrests and injuries of Muslim worshippers in the mosque; and “[r]egrets the damage caused by the Israeli forces, especially since 23 August 2015, to the historic gates and windows of the al-Qibli Mosque inside Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, and reaffirms, in this regard, the obligation of Israel to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, as reflected in the historic status quo, as a Muslim holy site of worship and as an integral part of a world cultural heritage site.”
It was therefore highly critical of Israel, as an “occupying power,” condemning it for a number of “aggressions and illegal measures” at the holy site. It also blames Israel for inciting violence on the Temple Mount, of course referring to as the Al-Haram Al-Sharif. The Resolution urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of this historic site. Additionally it also condemned Israel’s construction work in the Western Wall Plaza” . The Israeli paper Haaretz report also assumed the Resolution made reference to the Western Wall, while in practice it only discusses the “Western Wall Plaza,” built in 1967 by cleansing the residents of what had been the Mughrabi Quarter for almost eight centuries.
The prevailing status quo has been, that the site – the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque ,is officially under Muslim administration and under Israeli law, Jews are not allowed to pray there to avoid potential violence. While Jews are allowed to enter the site, their worship there is banned under arrangements instituted by Israel when it captured the area from Jordan in 1967. Since that time, many illegal Israeli settlements have sprung up in the West Bank, and Jewish neighbourhoods have appeared in East Jerusalem (an area that used to have mostly Muslim inhabitants) orchestrated by the Israeli Government. There has thus been a surge in private settlement activity in the heart of occupied East Jerusalem. For example, new data show that the number of Jewish settlers in the area surrounding the al-Aqsa compound has increased by 70 percent since 2009. During that same time period, 60 Palestinian families have been evicted, 55 of them in the last two years alone, according to the Israeli nongovernmental organization ‘Ir -Amim’.
Israel’s agenda therefore appears to be to assert sovereignty over the site by diverting the whole discourse fully towards this oft-quoted ‘absence of Jewish links’. Significantly, Israel’s effort to gain a symbolic and perhaps legal foothold at the site through UN resolutions comes as groups that call for the destruction of the al-Aqsa mosque and its replacement with a Jewish Temple are intensifying their activities, often with Israeli government funding and support. Critics have therefore pointed to the motion’s exclusive reference to the site by the name “al-Aqsa mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif” as evidence that the resolution denies any Jewish connection or reverence for the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount.
In a parallel universe, the Israeli PM could have promised to do more to uphold Muslims’ freedom of worship and to reassure the Muslim world that Israel is not trying to damage the mosque. Those are real and important issues. Instead, PM Netanyahu’s reaction was: “to say that Israel ( note : he mentions Israel NOT Jewish; the wording is important as it will give credibility to the State) has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China and that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids.”
However, when writing the Resolution, the board referred to the mount only by its Islamic name, “Al-Haram al-Sharif,” and never used the words “Temple Mount.” . As a matter of fact, denying Jewish rights to the place is also disrespectful to the clear meaning of the Quran itself. Nowhere in the UNESCO Resolution is there any statement invalidating or denying Jews’ connection to Temple Mount: the Jewish connection isn’t discussed in any way, either positively or negatively. It was not mentioned because the Resolution was about Israeli damage to a Muslim holy site – Al-Aqsa Mosque. Beyond that there is no general assessment or rejection of any religion’s connection to the site, apart from an affirmation of “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” PM Netanyahu produced the spin, and Israeli journalists of all stripes were eager to spread it, which news are usually picked up blindly by the world Media. The main focus of the Resolution , on a closer look, was however clearly different .
Israel and its’ Zionist lobby therefore cleverly managed their diplomatic ploy to shift the focus from its’ illegal actions “to issues irrelevant to the content and objectives of the resolution, which aims to put an end to Israel’s dangerous and illegal actions against holy sites in Jerusalem, and is especially regrettable since the member states including Sri Lanka are well aware of the dangerous situation in Jerusalem.”. The so-called absence of an affirmation of Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is being exploited to distract from Israeli violations of the status quo, and restrictions on Muslim-Palestinian access to the holy site.
Most importantly, the entire discussion focused on something UNESCO has no power to do – it does not have any power to nullify the Jewish connection to Jerusalem or any holy sites, even if it wanted to. The real-world power to shape the status quo in Jerusalem rests solely in the hands of Israel, not UNESCO. It is what Israel does with that power which we should be focusing on. Is there a moral to this story? Perhaps the lesson is that we have a choice. We really don’t have to click on a link that help propagate Israeli Zionist Media spins, which as usual are designed to draw attention away from the real, physical harm and issues that the Occupation is causing. This was the crux of the Resolution , which was only a further affirmation of an earlier similar Resolution adopted in April 2016.
Sri Lanka’s Abstention
Meanwhile Sri Lanka, with a strong policy of supporting the just aspirations of the Palestinian people, along with many others abstained from voting on Temple Mount Resolution on the presumption and claim that it denies any Jewish historic claim to the Temple Mount and surrounding holy sites in Jerusalem and on the grounds that Sri Lanka recognizes people’s right to religious freedom. According to SL Foreign Minister, ‘The place is a holy and a historic site for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As a government that has stood for people’s rights and religious freedom we could not have agreed to it from the point of principles we have upheld and maintained on such matters which restricts or discriminate others. Nevertheless, we did not vote against it because Palestine is our friend”. Government Spokesperson insisted that ‘the decision did not signal any departure from Sri Lanka’s position on Palestine as the two issues were not connected. Sri Lanka has always supported the Palestinian cause’
In fact, as stated earlier, ironically UNESCO Executive Board, in April 2016, voted 33-6 to strongly condemn Israel for alleged violations of Muslim religious freedoms at holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron, and for allegedly “planting fake Jewish graves.” Adopted under the agenda item on “Occupied Palestine,” the 5-page Resolution “strongly condemned” alleged “Israeli aggressions” against “the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif.” The wording of that Resolution too was similar to this one in contention. Among the countries which voted in favour, Sri Lanka too was one of them, where even US and UK abstained. The Israeli government describing that Resolution as “hideous” and then wrote letters to the 33 countries that signed the resolution. Sri Lanka too would have been at the receiving end of this Israeli blasting!. In this overall context and also with a US leaning ‘Yahapalana’ government in Colombo, the move can therefore be interpreted as signalling a material shift in Sri Lanka’s longstanding support for the Palestinian cause during the last few months, despite the government’s denial. Besides, does this abstention vote also mean comically, that Sri Lanka has not stood up for its’ so-called principles at the April 2016 Vote because Palestine is its’ friend?
It was therefore regrettable that Sri Lanka has conveniently sought to ignore the very crux of this Resolution, the prevailing status quo, and the historic background for bringing it for adoption and has fallen prey to the Zionist biased Media onslaughts and a victim to the dictates of the US led Western pressures. It will need to have a more plausible explanation to justify its’ abstention. In fact, it should be borne in mind that the UNESCO’s decision to adopt this Resolution reflected the “continued commitment of the majority of member states to confront the Zionist Regime’s impunity and uphold the principles upon which UNESCO was founded and underlines the dwindling credibility of the US led initiatives to whitewash Zionist aggression at the holy sites in particular and against Palestinian people in general.
sekara / November 1, 2016
Israel gets away with its criminal acts because its entire existence is underwritten by the US.
Sri Lanka generally conducted itself well in the past. What is happening now is no mystery.
Why do the Muslim MPs remain in government?
Why wouldn’t the leading Arab states take a tougher line on defenders of Israel’s misdeeds.
In the final analysis, elite class interests prevail over race, nation and all identity considerations.
BBS Rep / November 1, 2016
This place that people claim as holy to this religion or that religion is the unholiest place on earth. More blood has been spilled in and around this holy city than any other city in the world. And with so many people in the world claiming allegiance and ownership of this land in connection with one faith or another, this unholy land will continue to be the unholiest land on earth. UNESCO resolutions like every other resolution will only inflame the situation and make matters worse.
Amarasiri / November 1, 2016
RE:UNESCO Resolution: Zionist Media Spin & Sri Lanka’s Abstention
“The UNESCO Resolution on “Occupied Palestine” which was endorsed recently by its’ Executive Board comprising representatives from 58 states, and approved by 24 votes to 6, with 26 abstentions and two absentees, has already raised a hornet’s nest. Sri Lanka was among the abstentions.”
Sri Lanka is not in a great situation economically.
Imports around $20 Billion
Exports around $10 billion
Foreign Remittances Around $7 Billion
Deficit around $3 bullion.
Sri Lanka needs to trade with All nations, and tow the middle line. Sei Lanka should not create enemies.
The Average IQ of Sri Lanka is 79, and in globally competitive world, those countries with higher IQs will prevail in the long run. The Middle East countries, is an aberration due to its oil, with its high GDP and per capita income.
Israel and Palestine is primarily an Arab problem, made worse by the Western Imperialists, and made still worse by the Arabs themselves. Thre is no need to drag Sri Lanka with it’s population of 20 million and 2 million Muslims into this mix, while Sri Lanka empathizes with the plight of the Palestinians.
Remember, it was the Arabs who trusted the British and French, in order to drive out the Ottomans, who were Muslims, but treated all generally well.
Israeli colonialism of Arab lands is the unfortunate fall out from the Great Game between the Western Powers to carve out the Ottoman Empire, other Muslim Lands, India, Indo China and South East Asia. The First World War was the First Western Colonial War, the “Great War”, where Germany lost out,and WW2, the sequel to that.
Why did this happen? Go back to the elevation of Revelation over Reason and Observation, about 900 years ago, by Hamid Al-Ghazali. So, the Age of Reason and Enlightenment was blocked, and the Islamic Science and Philosophy has not yet recovered, and has been made worse by the Devi, Satan, Iblis following Wahhabis, Salafis and their clones such as ISIS etc. In fact the Saudi Wahhabi Graduates scored worst in the world in GMAT.
So, the West and Israel will always be ahead of the Arabs,technologically and economically.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson – The Islamic Golden Age: Naming Rights
Stupidest Muslim Vs Neil Tyson – How ideology can ruin intellectual power
This is not a debate between some Muslim and Neil Tyson. But this video shows the thinking of some very well educated 21’st century Muslim (I don’t know he is ignorant, stupid or dishonest. But he is one for sure) and Neil Tyson speaking in a lecture about how Muslims intellectual power ruined by an ideology.
Averroës, medieval Latin Averrhoës, also called Ibn Rushd, Arabic in full Abū al-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Rushd (born 1126, Córdoba [Spain]—died 1198, Marrakech, Almohad empire [now in Morocco]) influential Islamic religious philosopher who integrated Islamic traditions with ancient Greek thought.
His most important original philosophical work was The Incoherence of the Incoherence (Tahafut al-tahafut), in which he defended Aristotelian philosophy against al-Ghazali’s claims in The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa). Al-Ghazali argued that Aristotelianism, especially as presented in the writings of Avicenna, was self-contradictory and an affront to the teachings of Islam. Ibn Rushd’s rebuttal was two-pronged: he contended both that al-Ghazali’s arguments were mistaken and that, in any case, the system of Avicenna was a distortion of genuine Aristotelianism so that al-Ghazali was aiming at the wrong target.
Amarasiri / November 1, 2016
An alternate Hypothesis, the Devil Hypothesis. It is the Devil that creeps in the anus of the Arabs and Jews. The argument of the Jews that the Land was given to them by God, by ethnically lensing the Canaanites and Philistines, as per the Bible, Joshua, is equally ridiculous.
Islamic Idiocracy and Stupidity
“Once Anus Is Penetrated A Worm Starts Growing Inside.Whats the Cure?More Penetrations & Semen
George Carlin — Religion is Bullshit
George Carlin the Mark Twain prize winner for services to comedy gives a unique insight into religion and God in this thrilling piece.
Amarasiri / November 1, 2016
RE: UNESCO Resolution: Zionist Media Spin & Sri Lanka’s Abstention
“It was therefore regrettable that Sri Lanka has conveniently sought to ignore the very crux of this Resolution, the prevailing status quo, and the historic background for bringing it for adoption and has fallen prey to the Zionist biased Media onslaughts and a victim to the dictates of the US led Western pressures.”
Because the Muslims allowed the Theologians, the Ulema and Mullah, to take an upper hand over the Philosophers and scientists, and elevated revelation over Reason and Observation over the past 900 years, and still continue to do so.
So, the Muslims lost out on the age of reason, Enlightenment and the scientific discoveries pf the last 4 centuries.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Why Islam Rejects Science
Published on Oct 1, 2016
Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks about the origin of science in Islamic history but how science was later rejected due to religious dogma, and how this has set the world back so many centuries. A very interesting yet sad result of when science and religion clash.
Richard Kaz / November 1, 2016
Good article, thank you.
Sadly, very few people in the world would know the truth behind the UNESCO resolution and would have fallen for the anti-Palestinian bias of the western mainstream media.
Izeth Hussain / November 1, 2016
Excellent article which lucidly explains what the UNESCO Resolution was really about.The Government’s abstention was inexcusable – IH
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / November 2, 2016
Please give the truth. God is powerful than UNESCO. It is in scriptures that Jews will get their promised land. True to the word they got it and no one on earth can do anything about it. Jerusalem is the birth place of Judaism which was in existence thousands of ears before the birth of Christianity and Islam. Jews lived there for centuries till they were chased out by Romans with Arabs conniving. It is divine retribution that is taking place to Arabs in Palestine for the crime committed by their ancestors to Jews. Building of Islamic shrine in land of the Jews is an act of aggression and provocation. It is height of stupidity to state that prophet Mohamed went to heaven in a chariot from that site. God will always be on the side of Jews as they are rightful owners, and that is the reason why despite several attempts by Arab countries jointly to dislodge Israel they have miserably failed.
Fact Watcher / November 2, 2016
This view is typical of Tamil separatists who are licking the backside of the international (Zionist) Jewry in return for their help by way of arms, undermining of the government and UN human rights frauds.
To believe that God promised land to a group of people, and to believe that the corrupt “scriptures” in King James version of the Bible is based on ignorance and fraudulent manipulation of the truth.
To say that God will be on the side of the Jews shows that Dr Sanpukalingam is looking at the issue standing on his head. God does not support massacres of refugees (Shabra, Shatilla), murder of innocent children and women.
What is on the side of Zionist is their mythical belief system even Jesus could not eliminate. Evil will triumoh temporarily, like Piraphakaran showed.
Backlash / November 1, 2016
The Writer clearly has much input provided to him by ubiquitous Global Islam to promote the Islamic stand in this weary conflict. While the Israelis have committed many a transgression in the matter, their right to a Home, a State and presence in their own Holy Land cannot be denied. Judaism is far older than Islam and by that definition alone Islam’s claims place them in a lower order.
GoSL has done well in the abstention. It shall not be long before Israel and the Palestinians make up. It was encouraging to see PLO/Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the funeral of the late and great Jewish leader Shimon Peres this September. The ancient Semitic cousins will come together soon. Love will, hopefully, triumph over hate.
The feelings and interest of Lankan Muslims is safe in the hands of the liberal and secular Mangala Samaraweera.
dignity for all / November 2, 2016
Backlash is going at tangents . What this writer says is not about the right of Jews to a homeland or denial of Jewish links to the site. What he says is clear . The Zionist ( not Jewish) Media has taken the world for a ride by not focussing on the crux of the Resolution .
It is not about Mangala. but SL historic foreign policy which is at risk.
dignity for all / November 1, 2016
well written and informative article.
Yes. i checked. When searched through google, i was unable to find one link where the counter point to the Zionist narrative has been mentioned. This aptly shows how powerful the Zionist Media Moghul is.
I agree with the writer who says : Is there a moral to this story? Perhaps the lesson is that we have a choice. We really don’t have to click on a link that help propagate Israeli Zionist Media spins, which as usual are designed to draw attention away from the real, physical harm and issues that the Occupation is causing.
Sri Lanka is sadly becoming a victim of the US/ Zionist lobby. Hope the country will realize sooner than later of its’ ill-consequences .
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / November 2, 2016
I do not think you are honest when you say dignity for all. Muslims are guilty of destroying holy sites of other religions. In Taxila 500 Buddhist monks were murdered and Buddhist university destroyed.This site is still in ruins in Pakistan and Muslims will never allow it to be resurrected and given back under Buddhist rule. Similarly host of Hindu shrines were destroyed. Constantinople which was a Greek territory was destroyed, their citizens driven off and renamed Istanbul under Turkish occupation. Similarly northern Cyprus. Bamian Buddha statue which is a testimony for Buddhist presence in Afghanistan was destroyed by Islamic fanatics. Fortunately despite several attempts by Aurangazeb to destroy Elephanta caves, he miserably failed and it still stands in its pristine glory. You have to advocate justice for all to call your self as such.
Dignity for all / November 3, 2016
You can’t even call yourself Gnana either. Your words are full of hate. You have gone out of point as this is not the forum to discuss the appropriate ness of pen names.
This is talking about this writer’s article and what he says.
Perhaps you got your doctorate from the same university which granted to Dr Mervyn Silva.
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / November 4, 2016
For your information I am holding the original and true doctorate, granted by a top university. You appear to be an Islamic fanatic who is afraid to face the truth about Muslim atrocities committed on others. If Muslims really want justice, they must get UN to pass a law that any lands appropriated must be given back to the original owners. This will not happen as the losers will be Muslims.
Mohamed Rizwan / November 2, 2016
SriLankan Government should rethink their position in this regard.
The writer is fair in his article and gives the facts. The world is in turmoil
We must stop the blame game. Time will tell.
ranjith / November 3, 2016
As per the historical records and archaeological evidences available this particular site seems to be holiest site of Judaism even before the other two Abrahamic religions were started. As such Israel decision is very much justifiable.in this light sri lanken decision to abstained from voting too is very much justifiable.
Dushan / November 5, 2016
The Western governments together with the UN who caused this big problem, when they dumped homeless European Jews in a very hostile environment, among indigenous Arabs, are now ignoring the plight of the real victims here – the Palestinian people. The Palestinians now live by the millions in refugee camps, and those remaining in the territories have been herded into two small areas, and live in overcrowded conditions, have no access to clean water, have their water stolen, and their lands have been lost to zionist greed for illegal settlements. They have lost all their valuable resources to fend for themselves, including acres of farms, and the zionists have even stolen years old Olive trees, and replanted it in their stolen lands, beautifying their illegal settlements. The zionists are vicious and at the slightest excuse sent deadly bombs into homes killing entire Palestinian families. Still the world afraid to stand up to the zionist sugar daddy, who keeps sending them billions of dollars and weapons, are indifferent to the plight of the Palestinians. Hillary Clinton has vowed to keep this cozy relationship going and even promises to take to the next level.
Why are we, a nation that has always supported Palestinian rights, now embraced their tormenter, and now abstaining from a vote that may highlight the plight of the Palestinians, and show support for a deserving cause?
Have our leaders capitulated to the heavy influence of a devious occupier, like many other nations, including India (who buys their weapons from this arms manufacturer), and in bed with them? Israel cannot be trusted, and it would be a great mistake to allow them to influence our national policies.