Amman, Oct. 21 (Petra) — The Arab Group at UNESCO Executive Board (EX Session 190) conveyed a statement on behalf of Jordan strongly deploring the Israeli occupation continuing aggressions against al-Masjid al-Aqsa, the Magharbeh Gate Pathway (MGP) and the heritage Old City of Jerusalem.
The statement came after Russia took unexpected move, supported by Syria and other states such as Brazil as mentioned by Israeli sources. The move surprisingly helped Israel in postponing Jordanian and Palestinian draft decisions.
The UNESCO EX 190 was marked by high tension and break of a UNESCO Jordan-Israel agreement decision on MGP. Jordan refused any compromise on MGP language and tinted an Israeli clear disrespect of the Muslim Holy Sites and clear violation of the 1994 peace treaty.
The Arab group affirmed His Majesty King Abdullah II’s recent words at UNGA stressing that al-Masjid Al Aqsa is one of Islam’s three holiest sites to one quarter of the world’s population and is similar to the importance of the Kaaba in Makkah.
The Arab group also regretted for Israel’s curtailment of necessary projects to maintain the Muslim Holy Sites.
The statement highlights that Israeli authorities’ continuous intrusive excavations and construction works at the MGP site despite UNESCO consensus decisions are mere unilateral aggressions that are only seeking to alter the status quo of al-Masjid al- Aqsa.
The statement also expresses grave concern regarding the continuous intrusive and covert Israeli archaeological excavations and tunneling around and under Muslim Holy sites, carried out by Israeli extremists and unprofessional groups.
The statement requests that UNESCO assumes its mandate to demand Israeli authorities immediately to halt all such works that remove historical remains and impose exclusivist occupation narrative.
The statement further deplores Israeli authorities’ facilitation and protection of provocative extreme religious Jewish groups into al-Masjid al-Aqsa on an accelerated and systematic basis in an overt attempt to alter the centuries old status quo existing in al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and Compound as an exclusive prayer site for Muslims while Israel continues denial of access to Muslims from praying at the mosque.
The statement also condemns incursions of uniformed Israeli military and security personnel into al-Aqsa Compound and stepping on its worship carpets, in a blatant violation of all international norms.
The statement further calls upon UNESCO to demand that Israeli authorities remove the installed surveillance cameras at al-Aqsa compound, which abuse freedom of worship and the sanctity of the Holy Site.
The statement requests that UNESCO addresses the Israeli aggressions against al-Masjid al-Aqsa during UNESCO’s next Executive Board 191 .
The Arab group requested sending a mission to the ground related to five UNESCO resolutions on Palestine.
UNESCO decisions and statement recalled full applicability of international humanitarian law and the relevant provisions on the protection of cultural heritage; within the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981), and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), and the related decisions of UNESCO.
(petra.gov.jo / 21.10.2012)