Netanyahu sent letter to French President to protest UNESCO Temple Mount vote
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a strongly worded letter to French President Francoise Hollande to protest French support for a controversial UNESCO resolution, days before the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized for the vote, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Saturday.
The controversial UNESCO document spoke of “Occupied Palestine” and made no mention of historic Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, instead referring to it only as a Muslim holy site.
It also condemned “Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif.”
France was among the 33 countries that backed the resolution in the 58-member body.
In his letter to Hollande, Netanyahu said he was “astounded” by France’s support for what he called “a historic distortion of truth” and “an extremely biased and offensive” resolution.
“The organization trusted with the safekeeping of world history has degraded itself to rewriting a basic and indisputable part of human history,” Netanyahu wrote.
“While we have no illusions as to the the UN’s commitment to truth or decency, we were honestly astounded to see our French friends raise their hands in favor of this shameful resolution,” he stated.
He added that “International support for the Palestinian effort to deny Jewish history and to perpetuate the myth of Jewish aggression in the Temple Mount is not just immoral, it is dangerous.”
On Wednesday, Valls described the resolution as “clumsy” and “unfortunate” and said it should have been avoided.
“This UNESCO resolution contains unfortunate, clumsy wording that offends and unquestionably should have been avoided, as should the vote,” Valls told parliament.
Valls, who will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories later this month, said the UNESCO resolution “changed nothing” in France’s approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
“I want to repeat once again and clearly, with conviction — France will never deny the Jewish presence and Jewish history in Jerusalem. It would make no sense, it is absurd to deny this history,” Valls said.