French PM Condemns UNESCO Vote on Har HaBayis


French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned his country’s vote in the decision taken by UNESCO last Friday that henceforth Har HaBayis would only be referred to as “al-Aqsa.”

“This UNESCO resolution contains unfortunate, clumsy wording that offends and unquestionably should have been avoided, as should the vote,” Valls told the French parliament on Wednesday.

Vall’s statement came after a similar objection was voiced by France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who said the resolution “should not have been adopted.”

France representatives at UNESCO did vote for the resolution, however.

Earlier in the day, Valls confirmed he would be traveling to Israel at the end of May, to promote a French-led initiative to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, AFP reported.

As part of the French initiative, it will hold a meeting on May 30 for ministers from 20 countries to try and relaunch the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

Valls will meet Netanyahu on May 23, according to AFP. On May 24 he is scheduled to travel to Ramallah where he will hold talks with Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

Israel has strongly opposed the initiative, maintaining that only direct talks can lead to a peace settlement.