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US gov’t raises ‘serious concern’ over UN resolution omitting Jewish ties to Temple Mount

Israel
Border Police officers standing on the Mount of Olives facing the Temple Mount during an action in East Jerusalem, Israel, September 05, 2017. |

The United States has raised “serious concern” over a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly that refers to Judaism’s most holy site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the first and second Jewish Temples once stood, by only its Muslim name, al-Haram al-Sharif.

The “Jerusalem resolution,” which is part of what is known as the “Palestinian Package,” pushed by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab states and passed last week, recalls a 2015 U.N. Security Council press statement on Jerusalem, calling for “upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the Haram al‑Sharif.”

As many as 129 countries voted in favor of the resolution and 11 voted against it, with 31 abstentions.

The U.S. reacted to the passing of the resolution by saying that the omission was of “real and serious concern.”

"It is morally, historically and politically wrong for the Assembly to support language that denies both the Jewish and Muslim connections to the Temple Mount and Haram al‑Sharif," he said, according to a U.N. press release.

Sudqi Atallah Abd Alkadetr al Omoush of Jordan added, "Jordan is committed to protecting Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and will counter any attempts to alter the status of those sites." 

The other two resolutions, “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” and “The Syrian Golan,” which are part of the “Palestinian Package,” were also passed.

Different versions of the three resolutions are passed by the U.N. General Assembly every year.

They were last passed — with the Jerusalem resolution passing with the support of 148 member countries — at the General Assembly in 2018. Its support has dropped by 19 points this year. Twenty countries that voted in favor of the resolution in 2018 chose to abstain this year, including Austria, Brazil, Germany, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, The Times of Israel noted.

The representative of Israel said that by voting in favor of these resolutions, the international community is directly contributing to prolonging the conflict.

The Temple Mount compound, located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, is considered the holiest place in Judaism, and also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

A British envoy was quoted as saying that the resolution “refers to the holy sites in Jerusalem in purely Islamic terms without recognizing the Jewish terminology of Temple Mount.”

“The U.K. has made clear for many years that we disagree with this approach — and while we welcome the removal of the majority of these references, we are disappointed that we were unable to find a solution to the final reference,” the envoy continued. “The U.K. has therefore moved our vote today from a ‘yes’ to an ‘abstention.’ If the unbalanced reference had been removed, the U.K. would have been ready and willing to vote ‘yes.’”

No Arab country — not even Israel’s newest allies, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco — opposed or abstained from voting.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, responded by saying that “the automatic majority in the U.N. that votes in favor of pro-Palestinian decisions is shameful and makes the U.N. irrelevant and without real influence.”

“But the fact that 19 other countries made the right choice and realized that a distorted and false resolution could not be supported is a positive development that we must encourage,” he was quoted as saying. “There is still a long way to go, but the change in last night’s vote was important and there is no doubt that it will also affect more votes in the future.”

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