JERUSALEM — Israel on Thursday blamed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for helping to fuel anti-Israel incitement regarding false threats to the Temple Mount.
“UNESCO is a full partner to the false incitement by Palestinians and radical Islam who claim that Al-Aksa [Temple Mount mosque] is in danger,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Carmel Shama HaCohen said.
For five consecutive days, Muslim rioters have engaged in violent clashes targeting Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City near a main entrance to the Temple Mount.
The Muslim worshipers are purportedly protesting the Israeli government’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and a site holy to Islam.
Protest leaders, including top Palestinian officials, claim the metal detectors are part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship at the Temple Mount.
The activists and Palestinian officials seemingly fail to note that Israel’s new security measures were put into place in direct response to the murderous Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount last Friday in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site. The metal detectors will protect all visitors to the Mount, including Muslim worshippers.
Friday’s attack occurred less than two weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution declaring Jerusalem’s Old City and its ancient walls to be “occupied” sites and listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites in “danger.”
The Temple Mount is located in Jerusalem’s Old City, and last Friday’s attack occurred near the Lions Gate, part of Jerusalem’s ancient walls singled out by UNESCO.
And the terrorist attack took place one week after UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – claiming the tomb is a “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger.
The activists protesting at the Temple Mount, meanwhile, ignore that metal detectors have been in place for years for Jewish and Christian worshipers accessing the Western Wall. And Muslims on the Hajj pilgrimage pass through metal detectors at airports and border crossings.
The charge that Israel is hampering Muslim access to the Temple Mount is contradicted by facts on the ground. Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodians of the Temple Mount and grants Muslim worshipers access to the Mount 24 hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.
Jewish and Christian visitors, however, are restricted by the Waqf from visiting the Mount except on small tours for about two hours per day. The Waqf does not allow non-Muslims to pray on the Mount or bring holy objects to the site; whereas Muslim prayer is unrestricted. Waqf representatives closely monitor non-Muslim visitors to the site and are known to boot those engaging in prayer.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.