U.N. 'Palestinian Package' of Resolutions Only Fans the Flames of Conflict | Opinion

For at least the last five decades, the United Nations General Assembly has been blindly passing Palestinian-engineered resolutions supposedly aimed at addressing the "question of Palestine." Lacking in imagination and not really asking or answering any relevant question at all, what has now become known as the "Palestinian package" is not only detached from reality, but uses language so loaded in favor of the Palestinian narrative that it serves only to fan the flames of conflict, instead of diffusing them.

Linguists have long understood the power of language to make or break a conflict. Now, it's time for global leaders—and particularly, their representatives on the world stage in New York—to take a closer look at their own deeds and the language they use, if they stand any chance of positively influencing the world's most closely scrutinized regional conflict.

One-sided language began to dominate in U.N. forums almost as soon as Israel was recognized by the Partition Plan vote on November 29, 1947. Arab countries rejected that vote and, in an effort to appease them and, later, the Palestinians, member states now robotically support proposals that undermine my country's legitimacy. In the process, they also erase 3,000 years of Jewish history in Jerusalem.

This point is made most obvious by the U.N.'s insistence on referring to Judaism's holiest site only by its Muslim name. In no other conflict and with no other religion is the U.N.'s systematic bias so obvious. Where else in the world would the international community show such disrespect and disregard for a sensitive religious site?

There is no argument over the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount—the site Muslims refer to as Haram al-Sharif. Countless archaeological artifacts have been discovered there proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jews have prayed there for thousands of years. The Temple Mount, and the Mount Moriah summit upon which it sits, are mentioned multiple times in the holy texts that Jews from Europe to Africa to the Americas have recited and cried over for generations. This truth is recognized in the texts of the other Abrahamic religions, too.

Yet U.N. bodies, such as UNESCO, UNRWA and the various committees established to address the so-called "Palestine question," make no attempt to reflect these historical facts.

The eradication of our history renders the U.N. detached from reality—and Israelis are beginning to turn their back on an institution that does nothing to advocate for their right to pray at their holiest site. Over the past few years, under my leadership as a minister in the Israeli government, the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount more than tripled. It continues to rise.

Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of Jerusalem MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

By ignoring our 3,000-year link to the Temple Mount, the U.N. validates the Palestinian refusal to recognize our right to exist as the world's only Jewish state. Its dismissive language of the Jewish connection to our holiest site enables the Palestinians to educate their children that we have no right to even be present in Jerusalem. This encourages them to hate, rather than seek reconciliation and coexistence. And hiding behind the shield of these annual resolutions, Palestinian leaders are permitted to continue with their rejectionist policies.

Most ironic is that many U.N. member states already recognize there is a problem with this loaded language.

In 2017, the European Union agreed to formally adopt the dual name "Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif" when referring to the holy site. Speaking on behalf of the EU in 2018, Austria's permanent representative to the U.N., Ambassador Jan Kickert, reiterated the call, stressing "the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions and to respect religious and cultural sensitivities."

Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov, a former foreign minister of Bulgaria, is a rare U.N. figure who recognizes these sensitivities and makes a point of using both names whenever he reports to the Security Council on regional events.

Earlier this month, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček highlighted the injustice in a column, and indicated that his country is likely to break with the typical European consensus when these resolutions come up for a vote in the General Assembly on Wednesday.

As we enter a new era of peace in the Middle East marked by the signing of the Abraham Accords, I believe it is high time for others countries to consider this, too. They should take a deep look at how, by allowing these resolutions and their problematic language to pass each year uncontested, they are contributing to making a solution even more elusive.

If other countries refuse to make a change, it will be clear to me that U.N. members are not serious about resolving this conflict, preferring instead to maintain an absurd situation that only entrenches Palestinian rejectionism and pushes the sides even further apart.

Gilad Erdan is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations and Israel's incoming ambassador to the United States. He previously served in the Israeli government in various ministerial positions for more than a decade, including in the security cabinet and in Israel's Knesset.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.