“If the Palestinians reject the existence of a Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem, why would they seek to own the proofs positive of that Temple’s Jewish validity?”

Paris, 16 May 2018

In a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director fir International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to “a disturbing plan to undermine her commitment to depoliticize the UN agency.”

Samuels had “learned from UNESCO Arab Group sources of an apparent plan by the Palestinian delegation to claim the Qumran Caves and the Dead Sea Scrolls at the 30-31 May 21st session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP), at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.”

The letter continued, “this is another outrageous attempt at theft of the Jewish I.D. and a slap in the face of the Christian narrative. Indeed, it continues the antics of annual historical revisionism at UNESCO to validate a Palestinian mythology:

- the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (2012)
- Battir [Betar, the site of the Jewish Revolt against the Romans] (2013)
- Rachel’s Tomb reclassified as a mosque (2014)
- the Western Wall [Kotel] as a 'the Buraq Plaza' (2015)
- the denial of the Temple Mount now only presented as 'Al Haram Al-Sharif The Noble Sanctuary (2016)
- the Cave of the Biblical Patriarchs (2017)”

The Centre noted that, “at a recent conference on 70 Years since the Scrolls Discovery in a Judean Desert Cave, experts revealed, through advanced image technology, a hidden script in the ‘Temple Scroll,’ instructing the Cohanim (Jewish priests) on preparations for Temple services in Jerusalem.”

The letter challenged, “if the Palestinians reject the existence of a Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem, why would they seek to own the proofs positive of that Temple’s Jewish validity?”

Samuels highlighted that “the modalities of requesting return or restitution on the UNESCO website are very clear”: “A request for return or restitution has to be submitted at least six months before the next session of the Intergovernmental Committee in order for it to be considered.

“The Palestinian Delegation has perfected the abuse of procedure by proclaiming ‘emergency’ as a fast-track stratagem. This time, there must be no trickery, such as slipping Qumran into ‘a point of information’ under ‘AOB’ (Any Other Business),” adding, “Nor may the 2,000 years of the Dead Sea Scrolls and 70 years of revered care by their Jewish guardians be sullied in regional group political horse-trading,” emphasized the letter.

“Madam Director-General, we trust that you will maintain your policy of depoliticization and ensure that this spurious claim is not pursued – not this month and not during your mandate,” concluded Samuels.