Headline: “Zaki: Netanyahu’s participation in excavations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque is playing dirty”
“Fatah Central Committee member [and Fatah Commissioner for Arab and China Relations] Abbas Zaki said that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s announcement of his participation in excavations under the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., Netanyahu’s actual statement appears in a note below) challenges the UN resolutions and is a violation of international law. He emphasized that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution was a slap on the cheek for him [Netanyahu]…
In a radio interview that he [Zaki] gave yesterday [Oct. 25, 2016], he said that the UNESCO resolution was a shock for Netanyahu, who boasted that the land is Jewish and claimed that the world gave him permission to continue his crimes…
Zaki emphasized that archaeologists already confirmed in the past that there are no [Jewish] archaeological artifacts of any sort (sic., Jewish archaeological artifacts abound in Israel), which exist according to the Israelis' claim. He noted that no one, not even in the occupation state, will accept Netanyahu’s decision because this holy land is a historical site that appears in the UNESCO list.”
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 Project of 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.