Declaring The Kotel a Muslim Site Would Shatter any Prospects for Middle East Peace

October 19, 2015

The Simon Wiesenthal Center protested a draft UNESCO resolution, which declares that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s most holy site, belongs to the Muslim al-Aksa Mosque compound.


The draft text will be voted on in Paris at UNESCSO Headquarters on Wednesday.  It states that UNESCO, “Affirms that the Buraq Plaza is an integral part of the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.”


A letter of protest was sent to UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova by SWC Senior Officials including, International Affairs Director, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

The letter stated:


“Since the Palestinians entered UNESCO in November 2011, they have brought nothing but mayhem.  All aspirant states have practiced nation-building based upon their own credentials.  The Palestinians validate their narrative by an I.D. theft of the heritage of others.


“In 2012, they began at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in St. Petersburg, Russia, by manipulating the Christian custodians to grant them the Church of the Nativity and the Bethlehem Pilgrimage Route, dramatically claiming that “Jesus was Palestinian”.


“In subsequent heritage meetings they have had reclassified the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel – both central to he Jewish heritage – as mosques.


“Through the six Arab member states of the Executive Board, they are now to claim the very core of Jewish exile and patrimony, known as “The Wailing Wall”.


“Islam claims that Muhammed flew from Mecca to Jerusalem on his winged steed, Buraq, who was tethered to a wall, from where the Prophet rose overnight to heaven.  The next day, according to Muslim tradition, he flew back to Mecca.


“As you will recall, from our UNESCO sponsored exhibition, The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land, the Kotel – the remnant of the Temple is the heart of Zion and Jerusalem, the one and only focus of the Jewish faith.


“Al-Aqsa did not exist at the time of Muhammed and Jerusalem became a neglected backwater in the shadow of Islam's holy cities of Mecca and Medina.


“The claim of the Buraq Wall as the Kotel was launched by a Hamas publication at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, exposed by our Centre one month before the Palestinian entry into UNESCO.  The booklet, in Arabic and English, presents the “Kotel” as a Jewish conspiracy and launches a campaign for the return of the “Buraq Wall” to the embrace of Islam.


“It is well known that non-Muslims are undesirables in Al-Aqsa, while pilgrims of every faith are welcome at the Kotel.


“Madam Director-General, the Palestinian heritage wish list is long – it claims Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Where, however, a site does not fit the wish list, such as Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, they burn it.  You have called this behavior in Syria and Iraq “cultural cleansing”.


“During the 1948-1967 Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem, Jews were prohibited from their Kotel. When Jews returned, they found the Wall as a trash-heap and latrine, hardly a management recommendation for holy sites.


“In the last two days of the July 2015 World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Jordan and Algeria presented a resolution on behalf of the Palestinians with claims on Jerusalem.  These included :

- “The Buraq Wall” (the Kotel), the abutting Mograbi Ascent to the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary of the Al Aqsa).


“These elements were conflated under one image of concerted Jewish aggression against Islam and is at the root of today's violence in Jerusalem and across Israel.


“UNESCO cannot be party to an attempted theft of Judaism's very foundation which can only further aggravate a highly flammable situation.”



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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).