Headline: "Those who preceded you were smarter"
Op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily
"In the madness of the Zionist search for any [Jewish] remnants throughout the historical land of Palestine – and especially beneath or around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Palestinian people – in order to delude itself and the world that there is any connection between the Jews and Judaism and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to personally participate this week in the removal of soil from under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He called on Israelis to participate in the excavations… in order to find any connection between Judaism and Palestine. This was in response to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution from Oct. 13  which rejected the existence of any connection between the Jews and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall)…
Even though the head of the extremist right-wing coalition that rules Israel knows well that throughout the last 70 years since the Palestinian Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) and the establishment of the Israeli colonialist state the archaeologists have completely failed to find any [Jewish] remnant (sic., numerous Jewish archaeological artifacts have been found), he insists on destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings in a search for the alleged remnant."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Oct. 19, 2016, in the wake of UNESCO’s resolution erasing the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, that his government would help fund the Temple Mount Sifting Projectof the Ir David Foundation. The project works to recover archaeological artifacts from approximately 400 truckloads of soil removed from the Temple Mount by the Jordanian Waqf without supervision in 1999, as part of its illegal construction of the El-Marwani Mosque in the Solomon’s Stables area of the Temple Mount.
UNESCO passed a resolution in Paris on “Occupied Palestine” on Oct. 13, 2016, with 24 countries voting in favor, 6 against, and 24 abstentions. The resolution was later approved by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee on Oct. 26, 2016, in a secret ballot in which ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two opposed, eight abstained, and one country, Jamaica, was absent.
In the resolution UNESCO refers to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, only as “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and presents it only as a “Muslim holy site.” The resolution condemns “escalating Israeli aggressions” and Israeli “violations” at the site, and calls on Israel “to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif… as a Muslim holy site of worship.” The resolution likewise refers to the Western Wall Plaza as the “Al-Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza,’” adding quotation marks to the Jewish name for the site.
The resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.
The countries voting for the resolution were: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Vietnam.
Those voting against it were: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US.
Mexico later noted for the record that its position on the issue is one of abstention, although the vote count was unaffected.