IDF soldiers pray at the Kotel, Western Wall. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Palestinian proposal to UNESCO to have the Western Wall declared a Palestinian site is a distortion of history and a prize to terror.

​Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded with rage and derision to a Palestinian plan to submit a proposal to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) which would declare the Kotel, the Western Wall, a part of the al-Aqsa Mosque and therefore Palestinian.

“This is a clear endeavor to distort history, in order to erase the connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, and to create a false reality,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The ministry announced that it is “actively working” to put a stop to “this underhanded maneuver,” which constitutes “a distortion of reality and a falsification of historical facts in Jerusalem,” purporting to present the Western Wall “as if it were a Muslim holy site.”

The vote on the Palestinian proposal is slated to occur on Tuesday, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “engaged with friendly countries” and with the heads of UNESCO in order to ensure that the Palestinian attempt fails, it said in the statement.

‘A Mockery’ of UNESCO’s Founding Principle

Earlier on Monday, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald Lauder warned UNESCO against “exacerbating tensions in Israel” the Palestinian resolution.

Ron Lauder

WJC President Ron Lauder. (AP/MTI, Zoltan Balogh)

The proposal “goes in the face of the UNESCO Constitution, which very clearly states the organization’s aim to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration and coexistence. It would make a mockery of that founding principle if the UNESCO Executive Council were to back such a resolution. UNESCO must not be turned into a battleground for conflicts between religions,” Lauder said in a statement. ​

“For thousands of years, Jews have lived and prayed in Jerusalem. Since 1967, the State of Israel has safeguarded the right of worship of all three monotheistic religions present in Jerusalem, including the right of Muslims to pray on the Mount,” he pointed out.

He called declaring the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, “Judaism’s holiest place,” as a Muslim site “a travesty.”

Such a resolution would be a prize to terrorism, and “instead of fostering peace, it would only encourage extremists to step up their campaign against Jews, both in Israel and beyond,” he said.

Lauder appealed to all 58 member countries on the UNESCO Executive to vote against the proposal. “Everybody should see that this is not about protecting holy sites; it’s about bashing Israel, it’s about sowing the seeds of strife, and it’s about legitimizing violence. It must be stopped.”

The proposal, which is sponsored by six Arab states, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinians, proposes to declare that the Western Wall is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and called Buraq Plaza.

The resolution also includes a long list of allegations and condemnations against Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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