07 November 2016, 10:29
Russia-backed UNESCO resolution on religious monuments on Jerusalem's Temple Mount not aimed against Israel - Medvedev
Moscow, November 7, Interfax - There is no need to politicize UNESCO's resolution supported by Russia on the state of the historical and religious monuments located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and this document is not directed against Israel, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
"It seems to me that there is no need to politicize this decision; certainly it is not aimed against Israel or the people of Israel," Medvedev said in an interview with Channel 2 Israel ahead of his visit to this country.
He said it was not the first time UNESCO had adopted such decisions, and there was nothing new in them.
Russia has never denied Israel's and the Jewish people's rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, Medvedev said. All these rights are absolutely obvious and it would be absurd to deny them, he said.
"It is another matter that Jerusalem is a special place on our planet. It is the birthplace of the three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam," he said.
"In this sense, it is necessary to protect all the monuments that exist in Jerusalem - no more, no less," Medvedev said.
This UNESCO resolution had been debated since 2015 and was approved by 24 out of 58 countries, including Russia and China, on October 13, 2016. The text of the document reflects primarily the opinion of the Egyptian and Palestinian delegations, who submitted the draft resolution to consideration. The document addresses the state of the historical and religious monuments located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. However, it is fully dedicated to the mosques of Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah). In particular, the resolution says that Israel (which is called 'occupation authority' in the document) is taking a whole number of measures that either hamper the restoration of Islamic religious sites or speed up their decay.
Subsequently, Israel suspended its cooperation with UNESCO in protest over this document.