PM Netanyahu: We Deny UNESCO’s Authority Over Yerushalayim

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

If the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) denies Israel’s connection to Yerushalayim, then Israel denies UNESCO as an organization that has any authority, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the World T’nach Quiz, an annual Independence Day event, Netanyahu said that “UNESCO is today preparing to issue a resolution that denies the simple truth. We hereby deny UNESCO.”

No other nation has considered Yerushalayim important throughout its history, Netanyahu told a crowd of hundreds who had come from around the world for the event. “No other nation ever considered Yerushalayim a holy city. We stand for our truth, and deny UNESCO,” he said.

The new UNESCO resolution says that “any action taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the city of Yerushalayim, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” The resolution applies not just to areas of Yerushalayim liberated in the Six Day War, but in the western area of the city that was under Israeli sovereignty before 1967 as well. All Israeli institutions in Yerushalayim, including the Knesset, are “irrelevant,” if not illegal. Har HaBayis is not expected to be mentioned in the resolution.

Previously, UNESCO had passed resolutions denying the Israeli connection to Me’aras Hamachpelah, Kever Rochel, and the Kosel and Har HaBayis. UNESCO President Irene Bukova backtracked from that latter resolution, passed last October, after an international outcry.

In a message Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely appealed to European countries to vote against the resolution. That the organization would try to deny Israel’s connection to Yerushalayim is “absurd. We have become used to the concept of ‘fake news.’ Well, welcome to ‘fake history,’” she said in the message. We, as Israelis, don’t need UNESCO’s approval of our history in our land. However, for the countries voting tomorrow, I must say in the clearest terms: if you cherish history and affirm UNESCO’s duty to respect historical truth, there is no choice other than to vote against this latest attempt to subvert international institutions in order to attack Israel,”” she added.