PA Claims Western Wall in UNESCO Proposal

“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.…” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

The Palestinian Authority is preparing a proposal to be presented to the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which would establish that the Western Wall is part of al-Aqsa Mosque and and under the authority of the Waqf, the Muslim Authority. The proposal was presented to the Executive Council of UNESCO, which has 58 member countries.

The details of the proposal were reported in Ynet. The proposal is to declare and confirm that the Western Wall (Kotel) is part of al-Aqsa Mosque, and will be called Buraq Plaza, which is what the Palestinians call the Western Wall. It claims that Israel has taken “illegal measures against the freedom of worship and access to al-Aqsa Mosque (The Temple Mount). The proposal refers to Jerusalem as “the occupied capital of Palestine” and refers to Israel as “the occupying power”.

It also calls for the confirmation that the Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpelah) in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, are also part of Palestine.

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 The PA proposal calls on the countries of the world to condemn Israel for recent IDF actions and for calling on its citizens to bear arms. It decries violence by settlers and extremists against Palestinians and their children.

The Palestinian Authority is not one of the 58 member countries of UNESCO, so the proposal will be submitted by the six Arab states on the committee: Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Ynet reported that senior Israeli sources said the PA intends to submit it also to the UNESCO plenum, where they are a member state.

It is considered likely the proposal will be accepted since there is a Arab and Muslim majority in UNESCO. Though it is not yet clear what the implications of the proposal are, the agreement in 1967 between the Israeli government and the Muslim religious authority (Waqf) prevent non-Muslims from praying on the Temple Mount. The status quo has also limited Jews from ascending to the site. It was not stated whether these restrictions will then apply to non-Muslims at the Western Wall (Kotel) and the Cave of the Patriarchs.