French President Francois Hollande sent a letter last week to leaders of the nation’s Jewish community explaining he erred when backing the UNESCO decision which denied Jewish claims to Har Habayis, citing the holy site is holy to Islam exclusively.
In his letter the French president explained the move was a “misunderstanding” and promising he would not support such resolutions in the future. The letter seems to have been in response to protests heard from Jerusalem as well as from France’s local Jewish community. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week sent his own letter of protest to Hollande, explaining the UNESCO decision represents a “distortion of history”.
In Mr. Hollande’s letter he writes that UNESCO “has stooped to rewriting a basic and irrefutable part of human history”, explaining similar resolutions in the future would not enjoy his backing.
At the start of the Sunday weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the press, “This morning I met with the French Foreign Minister. I told him that the scandalous UNESCO decision, which was supported by France, that does not recognize the Jewish People’s ties – which are thousands of years old – to the Temple Mount, casts a shadow on the fairness of any forum that France tries to convene. He told me that this decision stemmed from a misunderstanding and that he would personally see to it that it does not recur. I told him that the only way to advance a true peace between us and the Palestinians is by means of direct negotiations between us and them, without preconditions.
“Our experience with history shows that only this way did we achieve peace with Egypt and Jordan and that any other attempt only makes peace more remote and gives the Palestinians an escape hatch to avoid confronting the root of the conflict which is non-recognition of the State of Israel. They simply avoid negotiating with us as part of their desire to avoid resolving the root of the conflict, which is recognizing the national state of the Jewish People, i.e. the State of Israel”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)