Inside the Middle East
November 4, 2010
Posted: 1956 GMT

Following up on our previous post about Israel's anger over the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) designation of  a West Bank religious shrine as a mosque,  the Israeli Foreign Ministry has decided to stop working with the UN agency.

In a statement Israel's Deputy foreign  minister, Danny Ayalon,  announced  "the suspension of Israel’s cooperation with the organization (UNESCO) in the implementation of the five resolutions until these outrageous pronouncements are rescinded"

Ayalon went on to say that the UNESCO recommendations were based on the "automatic Arab majority" in the agency and that it had become a "rubber stamp" of the Palestinian Authority.

An Israeli government official said the move was meant to "send a message" to the UN agency about Israel's "extreme displeasure" with the mosque designation which the official called a "negation" of not only Jewish and Christian tradition but of Islamic history as well.

The press office at UNESCO had no immediate comment about the latest criticism.

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Filed under: Christianity •Islam •Israel •Judaism •Religion

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miriam   November 5th, 2010 5:36 am ET

There is a contradiction in this article.

Suspension of cooperation in the implementation of 5 resolutions does not imply a decision to stop working with UNESCO.

However, it would hardly be shocking for any nation to re-assess its ties to a body that passes resolutions that effectively deny and erase its history, religion and culture as the result of the deceit and demand of those who have who have recently invented most of their own.

Shiran   November 5th, 2010 9:28 am ET

This is just another sad attempt by the muslim world to try to de-legitimize the state of Israel.
They are constantly working to erase the Jewish culture and history while forcing their own on anyone who opposes.

John A   November 5th, 2010 9:54 am ET

Miriam, Could you be kind enough to post a link which shows the actual history of the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem?

Please seek a factual web link i.e. not a religious web page or a Israeli web page or a Muslim web page. A believable page from a very neutral source.

If you can do this, then you will demonstrate you are not as biased as those you criticize in the UN. This could give you some credibility.


proud zionist   November 5th, 2010 4:06 pm ET

what is UNESCO saying about this:,7340,L-3980165,00.html

Alan   November 5th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

They are taking about Rachel's Tomb – a distinctly jewish heritage site. UNESCO horrifically denies history,

John   November 6th, 2010 8:08 am ET

Typical post from Mirian trying to show that the transgressors are being bullied when in fact they are the one's erasing anothers people's history and quite successfully I might add. Taking a chapter out of the U.S's elimination of the native American Indian history are we?

maor   November 6th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

This post neglects to mention that said site is actually Rachel tomb (wife of Jacob son of Yizhak son of Abraham)

This site is of extreamly importance to Jewish culture and history in the area and anouncing it a mosque is a grave offence.

What is the connection of Islam with Rachel tomb?

Israel reaction is justified in this.
It's just a shame that such a respectable body as UNESCO, a body that is supposed to be above politics, resort to what is clearly a political move.

Moshe   November 6th, 2010 6:32 pm ET

I am not surprised. UNESCO is not an a-political organization. It's part of the UN where resolutions are taken by a vote. When you have more than 1 billion Muslims with tens of states and nations and an oil-captive nations obeying the commands of the oil-arab-lords they can easily pass a resolution saying that Muhammad is the only profit and the land of planet earth is a sacred Muslim land.

Horner   November 6th, 2010 6:36 pm ET

Israel is a source of 'terror' and 'violence' in this world. It doesn't spare anyone who get's in it's way. World should honestly unite against Israel as "one-unit".

proud zionist   November 6th, 2010 10:22 pm ET


How about this as as source of violence:,7340,L-3980498,00.html

Carlos   November 6th, 2010 11:10 pm ET

Israel is the source of every trouble in the Middle East. Its lobby keeps steering the US foreign politics toward Israeli interests only, against all sense, destroying and destabilizing the area!!
I wonder why the world doesn't see that!!! stop this madness!
Unesco, it is a small thing, but....well done!

Jack   November 7th, 2010 12:03 am ET

Mr "Horner", your comment just proves your antisemitic agenda. Why cant you discuss the points raised? Why everytime you see the word "Israel" do you insist to spout your lies and other viatribes? Here is a valid protest of Israel against a UN organisation that has called a Jewish Matriarch's tomb an Islamic mosque. This claim is so idiotic and historically incorrect that it makes this UN organisation appear totally pathetic and obviously controlled by some lying extremists who care little for truth or honesty. Perhaps Mr "Horner" you wish to apply for a job there, you certainly seem to fit the criteria.....

miriam   November 7th, 2010 8:11 am ET

John A,

You should know by now that I do not copy and paste articles or provide web links.

In contrast to your opinion, I do not believe that this blog should be turned into an outlet for propaganda and hate. Comments should be honest, genuine and authentic.

Rachel's Tomb is mentioned throughout the bible and in Jewish, Christian and Muslim literature as well as in historiographic accounts dating back centuries. It has been acknowledged as important to Jews and respected as that by other religions and peoples.

Bilal bin Rabah was an Ethiopian servant/slave, used as a muezzin for Mohammed. It is believed he died in the region of Syria during one of Mohammed's battles for regional/world domination.

Until 1997, the Muslims called the site Kubat Rahel, ie Rachel's Tomb. In a general effort to delegitimize any Israeli claims to the Holy Land and to erase Jewish history Rachel's Tomb became one of various Jewish sites that were attacked, physically and psychologically with their history revised to create a mythical justification for Palestinian claims.

All those in the UN and those who support the UNESCO statement have not only negated Judaism but also traditional Christian and Muslim beliefs.

More fool them who in their desperation to demonize and delegitimize Israel, undermine their own beliefs and historical foundations.

Rafi Shalom   November 7th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

UN is good with rewriting history. Rachel's tomb – A mosque ?! How many muslims existed when Jacob was alive ?! They have learned well from the arabs. This disgrace is a lesson from and to the world – when it comes to Israel, the world consistently bows to pathological liars. We should remember this when Israel is criticized.

Zak   November 7th, 2010 5:38 pm ET

The church should step in... after all this the tomb of one of the foremothers of Christianity and Judaism.

Smith in Oregon   November 8th, 2010 3:32 am ET

The utterly corrupt ultra-extremist Apartheid state of Israel is upset that a team of U.N. International Law experts recently determined that Israel's peace flotilla Israeli Commando raid broke multiple International Laws.

A report by three U.N.-appointed human rights experts Wednesday said that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla killing nine activists earlier this year.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and described the military raid on the flotilla as brutal and disproportionate.

The 56-page document lists a long series of alleged crimes committed by Israeli forces, including willful killing and torture, and claims there is "clear evidence to support prosecutions." It also alleges that Israel violated the right to life, liberty, freedom of expression and the right of captured crew and passengers to be treated with humanity. Multiple Kidnapping, Piracy, Murder, Torture and Violations of Human rights are all very serious International crimes which Interpol should charge a large number of Israeli Officials with and let the World's Court determine their prison sentences.

"A series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation," the experts found. A very large number of the passengers have made statements they were detained, chained to a chair for lengthy questioning periods where they were savagely beaten and repeatedly electroshocked with cattle prods in a classic case of TORTURE and the number TORTURED could easily exceed 100 COUNTS alone. 9 Execution murders, Piracy, Illegal seizure of a NATO flagged civilian ship in International Waters is an act of war against a NATO nation.

Come on Interpol, time for multiple serious CHARGES against the Israeli Government Officials over this act of murder, torture, kidnapping and piracy on a NATO flagged civilian cargo ship in International Waters.

There are far more charges which the United Nations experts on International Law state are fully supported against Israeli Officials over this multiple act of Piracy of NATO flagged civilian cargo and passenger ships in International Waters than the ENTIRE LIST of War Crimes against the alleged mercenary Charles Taylor now on trial for war crimes at the Hague Tribunal. It is time for Interpol to Charge Israeli Officials and escort them to the Hague for their War Crimes trials.

I urge all readers to write Europe's Interpol and urge them to charge Israeli Officials and Israeli Commando's with the long list of serious International Crimes the recent EU and UN Panel of Law Experts felt were substantially found and fully meriting charges being filed NOW.

John A   November 8th, 2010 10:14 am ET

Amazing how many Israelis come to the blog to beat their chests with national pride, and then forget to post any real factual history about this building.

Real facts: There is no proof that the biblical Rachel (the mother of Joseph) ever existed. No region in the area from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Assyria or Babylon ever recorded any recognition that the Jewish holy stories ever happened. These stories were only spoken between Rabbis and their followers.

Egypt, Assyria, Rome & Babylon have all recorded historic events in the region. They have no record of Jeiwsh biblical events? The usual excuse will be because of anti Semitic attitudes. But this is a poor excuse which has been repeated for hundreds of years. The facts remain we can find proof about all cultures, but the Jewish story can only be found in Jewish books. The is no archeological proof to support most claims concerning Israel.

No proof of a Jewish exodus, no proof of a Jewish kingdom (beyond 300 years) . All we know for sure is a tiny minority practiced Judaism amongst a mass of people who did not practiced Judaism.

John A   November 8th, 2010 10:19 am ET

This is a classic case of Jews arguing their invisible friend God (and all the related stories which have no archeological proof) should be given scientific respect.

What science believes in fairytale like Rachel & Joseph etc?
UNESCO is base on science and education, not folk law and religious myth!!!!

miriam   November 8th, 2010 3:05 pm ET


The Arab/Muslim/Non-aligned, anti-Zionist/Israel/Semitic states demanded an UNHRC committee of inquiry prove that Israel broke "international law" during the flotilla raid.
No mention of Turkish government backing, aiding a terrorist organization or the flotilla's violation of international law.

The council, that is obsessively and notriously anti-Israel, was headed by lawyers but not international and maritime law experts and had a politically motivated and biased mandate.

Israel had already established its own independent inquiry, including international observers, in agreement with the UN but the UNHRC established the inquiry despite the equally unnecessary separate UN inquiry already established with which Israel was cooperating.

Just like Goldstone, the mandate, investigation and findings would never stand up in a real court of law, and just like the Goldstone findings, they have been proven to be based on lies and distortions.

Rather than interpol wasting money and time arresting Israelis who have commited no crime that could be brought to an honest and legitimate court of justice, readers could be urged to ask their governments to stand up for the defence of democracy and the rights of sovereign states to self-defence rather than discrimination and delegitimization of the one Jewish state.

The UNHRC has been shown to be even more dishonest than its dissoved predecessor and unless it ceases to be dominated by the world's greatest human rights violators will continue to be one of the worlds biggest embarassments.

miriam   November 8th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

John A,

Why would nations who tried their best to wipe-out the memory and presence of the Jewish nation include their story in their historical narratives?

However, there are references to peoples and events that closely resemble those related in the bible in the records of those long-time non-existent nations and even almost identical accounts in the later sources.

It is not only Judaism that respects the bible, and there are increasingly more archeological findings proving biblical stories even credible to the atheist.
History goes back thousands of years and it is unlikely that we will ever discover the remains of every event. It doesn't mean nothing ever happened.

Try finding out from UNESCO how they came to their statement.
It has nothing to do with science or education and everything to do with myth and cultural, religious and factual assassination.

John A   November 8th, 2010 7:09 pm ET

Miriam, why do you always overstate the importance of Jews to mankind.???

No ancient culture ever tried to wipe out the tiny amount of Jews. There were so few Jews in history that they were a mere irritant and never a threat.

No ancient culture recorded Jewish folk law stories because they were simply stories. You claim that history cant find any proof of the Jewish religious stories because all mankind has tried to wipe Jews out. What Bull$hit!!!

If all the world wanted to wipe a few minority groups of Jews out, it would have been done! Jews weren't thrown to the lions! That was the Christian fate.

Miriam just face it, all you have is folk law and lies. No proof, ever!!

Smith in Oregon   November 9th, 2010 12:52 am ET

It has been less than a week after Republicans made major gains in the U.S. midterm elections and ALREADY the utterly disgusting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on President Barrack Obama to "create a credible threat of military action" against Iran.

Can you believe the nerve of that utterly depraved man? Even the Israeli GENERALS are stating Israel should not attack Iran and here is the Israeli Zionist Prime Minister beating his war drum to push America into destroying Iran and entering into a shooting war with China, Russia and North Korea!

Thankfully America's initial official reaction was negative, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates insisting that Obama's preferred strategy of enhanced multilateral sanctions and negotiations, which may resume after a year's hiatus later this month, was working better than expected. Got that Netanyahu, you disgusting bag of war mongering hot air!

"I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs, to end its nuclear weapons programme," Gates said when asked about Netanyahu's remarks during a visit in Australia'. "We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran."

According to diplomatic sources quoted in the Israeli and U.S. press, AIPAC Israel's foreign agents are planning on lobbying the hawkish Republicans who now control the US Congress to pressure President Obama to publicly threaten full destruction of Iran!

Like some depraved evil serpent, Netanyahu told VP Biden that Obama should act "not to just neutralise their nuclear programme, …but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard. Destroy their ability to fight back."

The Zionists know Israel's Generals do not want to attack Iran, so the utterly depraved Israeli Prime Minister goes to VP Biden and pressures him to not only attack Iran but to destroy much of Iran's entire military and infra-structure!

At what cost Israel?

Russia, China, Syria and Lebanon would certainly not allow Israel to remain setting on the bench laughing at how stupid America was to attack Iran. Is Israel that deluded to think the American people would simply go along with mass suicide just to satisfy yet another Israeli Zionist blood feud between Israel and another Arabic country in the Middle East?

Yet another overwhelming reason to entirely boycott Israel entirely! And for ALL Americans to divest themselves from any and all Israeli Business's and linked Corporations completely.

miriam   November 9th, 2010 12:26 pm ET


There is no pressure on the US by Israel to attack Iran but there is a suggestion that military threats may have greater impact than economic sanctions that, through Iran's own admission, do not seem to be having any effect.

Despite the fact that the Iranian leadership are persistent liars and economic sanctions are having a negative effect on their operations, those who function living off Iranian terrorist and propadandist exports still have faith in and dedication to their benefactors which strengthens Iranian resolve and confidence facing the West who it sees as the enemy.

There is no other state in the world whose existence is being openly threatened by Iran, although the West and others are merely being protected by Israel's circumstantial position.
Israel has the right to respond to the threats and actual attacks by Iranian proxies and has shown more restraint than any other state would do in the same situation.

Stirring up hate by spreading myths and disinformation is not new on this blog and will be ignored by everyone but the gullible.

miriam   November 9th, 2010 12:31 pm ET

John A,

Of course history has record of Jewish religion and culture.

Not only can you not read my comments but you have a problem reading history too, that is, the history that is factual and not fiction.

Filipe   November 9th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

How can a building/structure that has been inexistence for centuries prior to the invention of Islam be considered a Muslim holy site????

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Maybe they are following some new for of science that has determined that time is not linear!

Pretty warped decision coming from UNESCO. But then what do you expect, it's associated with the UN.

david singer   November 10th, 2010 7:33 am ET

The cynical Arab use of UNESCO to pass resolutions concerning two Jewish sacred and biblical sites – the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem – is part of an ongoing Arab obsession to deny any Jewish claims to sovereignty in any part of the West Bank.

Tthe recent decision of UNESCO’s Executive Board resolved that the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb:
"are an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories”

This resolution represents one more insidious attempt by the Arabs to determine the final status of the West Bank as exclusively Arab territory and to deny the Jews the legal rights vested in them to settle there for the declared purpose of reconstituting their national home in accordance with Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

In arriving at its decision on 21 October – UNESCO’s Executive Board had in its possession an explanatory note presented on 19 March by 7 of its 58 member States – Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tunisia – supporting their request to have the Board place the issue of the two sacred Jewish sites on the Board’s agenda for consideration.

That explanatory note falsely purported to represent the legal position existing in the West Bank in the following terms:

"Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territory is inherently temporary and does not give the occupying power (Israel) sovereignty or title over the occupied territory. The seminal principle in international law is reflected in Article 43 of the Hague Regulations which requires the occupying power to re-establish and maintain public order and civil life for the benefit of the occupied population, and to respect existing laws and institutions in the occupied territory.”

Apart from describing the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” whilst its legal status still remains undetermined – the Arab position on the applicability and interpretation of Article 43 was totally misconceived and indeed deceptive and misleading.

Article 43 states:
“The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”

Article 43 could not possibly have any applicability to the West Bank or the interpretation attributed to it by its Arab proponents in UNESCO for the following reasons:

1. There was no legitimate power in the West Bank in 1967. Jordan’s attempt to annex the West Bank in 1950 had only been recognized by Great Britain and Pakistan and this position remained unchanged until its loss to Israel in 1967. Jordan may have been an occupying power. It certainly was not a legitimate power.
2. The West Bank was not a “country” or recognized as part of a country in 1967. Its legal status then was – and still is – part of the 6% of land contained in the Mandate for Palestine still remaining unallocated pursuant to the provisions of the Mandate and the UN Charter.
3. Article 43 does not mention – nor can it be reasonably interpreted as including – any obligation to “re-establish and maintain civil life for the benefit of the occupied population”

Any cursory examination of the Arabs legal claim by UNESCO’s secretariat should have resulted in an instant rebuttal of their position. That UNESCO unquestioningly swallowed such claim indicates the gullibility and lack of scrutiny of those who administer its proceedings.

Representatives from the Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic States, the African Union and the Organization of American States comprise 35 of the current 58 Board members. The passage of any anti-Israel resolution at the Board is virtually guaranteed.

This latest attempt to twist and misinterpret international law has become part of the relentless Arab effort to delegitimize Israel and deny any Jewish rights to live in the West Bank – its biblical, ancestral and legally recognized patrimony – in accordance with the unanimous decision of the League of Nations made in 1920.

Arab efforts designed to create the impression that Jewish towns and villages established in the West Bank since 1967 pursuant to such vested rights are illegal in international law is but another example of the lengths the Arabs are prepared to go in their desire to misrepresent the legal position in the West Bank and claim Arab sovereignty to the exclusion of Jewish claims.

Relying supposedly on international law to support such claims – the Arabs have no qualms in rejecting the binding legal validity of the Mandate for Palestine, the United Nations Charter and Resolution 242 as the determining pieces of international law to settle the final status of the West Bank.

The latest attempt to pull the wool over UNESCO’s eyes remains an important reminder to closely examine any purported legal claims made by the Arabs – which cannot ever be taken or accepted at face value.

John A   November 10th, 2010 4:37 pm ET

So much BS about a Rachel nobody can even prove ever existed.

Meanwhile Israel allows immigrants from Eastern Europe to claim land from Palestinians who can prove they have lived there for over 1000 years.

But to point out this irony is suppose to be an anti Semitic attack. Well put your anti Semitic BS where the sun doesn't shine.

Remember UNESCO stands for United Nations Education, Science & Cultural Organization.

Cultures should not be educated in things which cant be proven. Thats politics not science.

So prove scientifically that Rachel existed and the tomb was built by an ancient Jew.

You cant, so stop crying like spoilt children!!!

The United Nations endorsed the creation of Israel in 1947. How can anyone claim the United Nations is against a country they created.

As always the bogus Jewish arguments are only fit for retarded consumption.

proud zionist   November 10th, 2010 10:07 pm ET

Smith in Gaza


Filipe   November 11th, 2010 11:52 am ET

John A,

No one really cares if you don't believe in Rachels's existence. It has no bearing on the issue at hand.

The fact is the tomb has existed for a millenium prior to the invention of Islam. It has been a Jewish Holy Site since it's inception. It really doesn't matter whose remains are actually inside. But one thin is absolute-the reamians contained in the tomb are not those of a follower of the Islamic faith.

So, how can it be considered a mosque ??? Why should it be considered a mosque?

miriam   November 11th, 2010 2:15 pm ET

John A,

Find a Palestinian who can prove that his family has been there for 1000 years.

There are a handful who may have been there but they will have no proof.

And don't refer to the Palestinians mentioned in historical documents. Those were the Jews.

Rachel's Tomb, however, is documented in historical records of Christian and Arab travellers apart from being alluded to in the Koran and having been recognized as a Jewish religious site in Arab, Christian, Muslim, Ottoman and British records.
Note, I haven't mentioned any of the numerous Jewish sources since we know the contempt you display to anything Jewish.

The UN of Nov 29th 1947 consisted of 56 states.
Most of the states who today dictate UN anti-Israel policy were not members and those who were, opposed the resolution.

Despite the fact that the resolution was passed to re-establish the Jewish homeland, the UN did very little to address the violent opposition to it and violation of it displayed by some of its own members.

The resolution also called for the creation of another Arab state on land specifically mandated as being for the Jewish state. That was similarly rejected by all the those same UN members, but passed by the majority.

This is not a "Jewish argument", it is fact.

proud zionist   November 15th, 2010 9:16 pm ET

"Meanwhile Israel allows immigrants from Eastern Europe to claim land from Palestinians who can prove they have lived there for over 1000 years."

typical Johnny baby lies

Smith in Oregon   November 17th, 2010 12:53 am ET


Reporters at America's Veterans Today calls this latest Israeli Spy attack on America's National Security,


What did America lose? 15 years of research and development? That doesn't even come close to describing the enormous damage to America's national security by the Israeli Spy team that did this. Key components of the F-35, from stealth materials, flight and weapons systems, to tens of thousands of man-hours of systems programming are now 'out there' available to any potential buyer from the Israeli Spies well beyond simply a $300 BILLION dollar robbery from the American taxpayers.

Another Israeli Spy disaster like the Israeli Spy Pollard, this also has been shoved under the rug by the pressure from the powerful Israeli lobby AIPAC whose legion of foreign agents are being investigated by the US Dept. of Justice as SPIES for the nation of Israel operating unfettered and full access to US Lawmakers in Washington DC!

This spy case coupled with the Israeli Spy Pollards actions clearly show that Israel is no friend of America, that during the past 40 years Israel has greatly weakened and damaged America's National Security placing ALL American's at great risk.

miriam   November 18th, 2010 11:13 am ET


You've joined John A with your duffer copy and pasting of baseless conspiracy.

John A   November 24th, 2010 4:26 pm ET

Miriam, Luckily nobody on this blog is capable of copying your radical style of lunacy.

miriam   November 29th, 2010 2:40 pm ET

John A,




I wonder who those words reference?

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