Two nations—Tanzania and Croatia—effectively blocked a unanimous “by consensus” vote at the United Nations cultural organization that sought again to undercut Israel in Jerusalem. The UNESCO vote at the World Heritage Committee ultimately passed, but with fewer than half the body’s members voting affirmative, according to The Jerusalem Post. The report said that 10 of the 21 voting members—the Islamic-friendly nations along with Cuba and Vietnam—voted yes, while eight abstained, one was not present, and two—Tanzania and the Philippines—voted against the resolution, which still dismissed Israeli connections to the Temple Mount.
“It was supposed to be passed unanimously, by consensus, because the UNESCO Secretary General said that if it was not passed unanimously, then the decision would not be implemented,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “I would like to thank the leaders of Tanzania and Croatia for demanding a vote. I spoke with them and I very much appreciate their willingness to take a stand there.” The Israeli leader pointed to the result as demonstrating diplomatic progress.
“This advances what I have been telling you, and what I told the UN, is happening, that Israel’s bilateral relations will also – in the end – be reflected in international forums even though this will take time,” said Netanyahu. “It takes time and a little help from above.”
Netanyahu believes that in less than 10 years, the “automatic majority” opposing Israel will break, particularly the African bloc. Israel has made a point of reaching out to Africa in recent months seeking new and deeper friendships.
Despite the a result better than it could have been, Netanyahu still slammed UNESCO’s decision on Wednesday and the other recent decision on Jerusalem’s history. Netanyahu pointed to another archaeological find by the Israel Antiquities Authority—a receipt more than 2,700 years old—to make his point.
“It says in ancient Hebrew… ‘From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem’. Here is a letter from the past to UNESCO… It explains—in Hebrew—our connection to Jerusalem and the centrality of Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu. “A servant of the king, certainly a King of Judah. It is from over 2,700 years ago—Jerusalem. In neither Arabic, Aramaic, Greek nor Latin—in Hebrew.”
The Israeli leader also expressed outrage at the accusation that Israel is not protecting the region’s holy sites, noting that Israelis “are the only ones who are scrupulously, carefully and zealously safeguarding. Who would do so if not us? We all know that is happening here in the Middle East as radical Islam blows up mosques, blows up churches, blows up historic sites.”
Following Wednesday’s vote, Netanyahu said they called their ambassador to UNESCO home to discuss how they will approach the organization moving forward. But the less than perfect Muslim vote still gave Netanyahu hope.
“It must be understood that in the end… this absurdity that hurts not only historical truth and present truth, but also—in my view—hurts the UN itself, this absurdity will end as Israel’s strength grows and expands.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 26, 2016)