Irina Bokova , the Director-General of UNESCO. (AP/Jacques Brinon) (AP/Jacques Brinon)
Irina Bokova
Kotel Western Wall

Thousands of Jewish worshipers at the Kotel, Western Wall. (kavram/Shutterstock)

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova strongly condemned another Palestinian attempt to distort history and have the Western Wall declared as belonging to them.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) issued a statement on Tuesday “deploring” the Palestinian proposal to have the Kotel, the Western Wall, declared a Palestinian site, warning it could “incite” to more tensions.

Bokova appealed to the UNESCO Executive Board, which is set to discuss the resolution tabled by six Arab countries on behalf of the Palestinians on Wednesday, to take decisions that do not further inflame the current tensions in Israel and that encourage “respect for the sanctity of the holy sites.”

“The protection of cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate and efforts,” Bokova added.

“We all have responsibility to UNESCO’s mandate, to take decisions that promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” declared Bokova. “This is especially important for young people, who should be nurtured and educated for peace.”

“Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people and a mosaic of cultures and peoples, whose history has shaped the history of all humanity,” she underscored.

She again appealed for “dialogue and consensus so that UNESCO’s mandate of protecting World Heritage and promoting tolerance and mutual respect could be taken forward.”

“In this spirit,” she reiterated her calls to “all parties” to ensure that “cultural heritage, including religious, is preserved and accessible to all and to resume dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding.”

‘Offensive and Ill-Advised Resolution’

Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded with rage and derision to a Palestinian plan. “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 said it is 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.”

Also on Monday, World Jewish Congress (WJC) CEO Robert Singer wrote to Bokova and appealed to her “to do all in your power to prevent this offensive and ill-advised resolution from being adopted.”

The proposal, which is sponsored by 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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