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Abbas: UNESCO resolution ignoring Jewish connection to holy sites is meant to “prevent harm,” and to condemn “Israeli violations” against East Jerusalem’s “identity”

Headline: “The [PA] president: Peace is our strategic goal, and the key to it is the end of the Israeli occupation”
     “[PA] President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas said that peace is our strategic goal, that it is an interest of all of us, and that the key to peace is to end the Israeli occupation and to put an end to the historical injustice caused to our people, so that the two states – Palestine and Israel – will live in security, stability, peace, and good neighborliness.
During a press conference that he held in Bethlehem with his Italian counterpart President Sergio Mattarella, His Honor (i.e., Abbas) expressed his constant willingness to make peace with Israel and to implement the two-state solution according to the resolutions of the international institutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. He expressed support for the international peace conference that France is working to convene at the end of this year [2016].
Likewise, he clarified that the role of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and its resolutions is to protect the global human heritage, and as part of this to prevent harm to it and to condemn the Israeli violations that are meant to change the nature and identity of East Jerusalem. He noted that the latest Israeli attacks, which attempted to mix religion and heritage, are incorrect and inappropriate.
President Mahmoud Abbas again emphasized the honor he has for Judaism, and the permanent call that Jerusalem be open to worship for all believers of the three monotheistic religions.
His Honor expressed support for every regional and international effort to struggle with and uproot the roots of terror, extremism, and violence, which are deserving of condemnation regardless of their source and nature.”

The French Initiative – A peace initiative proposed by the French PM Hollande’s government in 2015 aimed at reviving peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. A one-day summit was held in Paris on June 3, 2016, attended by foreign ministers of the US, EU countries, and several Arab countries, for the purpose of advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. At the end of the summit, participants issued a joint communique supporting a negotiated two-state solution and proposing an international conference before the end of the year. Israelis and Palestinians did not participate in this first summit, the purpose of which was to establish a framework for renewed negotiations between the two.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) 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.
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