Diplomacy & defense

Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam, is also venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount and is considered the most sacred place in Judaism.
UN General Assembly president causes storm by wearing Palestinian flag scarf to Palestinian solidarity session

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday voted to adopt six resolutions condemning Israel during a special annual session for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which began the day before.

In one of the most prominent decisions, the UN voted to support a resolution that used solely Muslim language to describe the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and ignored the site’s biblical role in Judaism and Christianity, with 147 member states voting in favor, seven against and eight abstaining.

Countries considered to have good relations with Israel such as France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom all voted in favor of the resolution, while the United States, Canada, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Naura and Palu all voted against it.

The Jerusalem resolution stated that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The other resolutions included calling on Israel to transfer control of the Golan Heights to Syria and to end its co-called "occupation" of the Palestinian people.

“Today’s resolutions are yet another example of the daily bias Israel faces in the UN," Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in reaction to the passing of the resolutions. “At the same time that Israel is celebrating the historic decision to reestablish the Jewish state in our homeland, the UN continues to fund organizations and pass resolutions that do nothing to better the lives of the Palestinians.”

The day of solidarity with the Palestinians is marked every November 29, the date of the UN resolution adopting the Partition Plan, which paved the way for the end of the British mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel several months later.

President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson caused controversy when he wore a Palestinian flag scarf to a special meeting of the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) on Tuesday.

Israeli envoy Danon condemned Thomson for wearing the scarf, saying "It's unacceptable for the president of the UN General Assembly, whose position is a symbol of neutrality and stateliness, to wrap himself in a Palestinian flag and participate in an event whose sole purpose is to attack and besmirch the State of Israel. This is living, unequivocal proof of the bias against Israel and the slander spread about us at the UN."

"While Israel celebrates the UN decision that led to its independence, the UN chooses to mark the Palestinian 'Nakba' (catastrophe)," he added. "The Palestinians continue to try to avoid a direct dialogue with Israel through the UN, while the UN continues funding bodies motivated by narrow political interests that help perpetuate the conflict."

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