Israel and its international allies, including the U.S., allege a resolution passed by UNESCO on the preservation of the Old City in Jerusalem denies any Jewish link to the holy site.
The vote by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee agreed to retain the walled city, which is home to holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, on the list of endangered world heritage sites, Fox News reported. It has been on the endangered list since 1982.
The resolution criticized Israel for refusing to allow UNESCO experts to visit the site to determine its conservation state.
Israel and its allies were angered by the text only referring to the Old City by its Arab name.
“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.
Israel has controlled the site since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.
“This item should have been defeated ... These politicized and one-sided resolutions are damaging the credibility of UNESCO,” a statement by U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Crystal Nix Hines said. “These resolutions are continuously one-sided and inflammatory.”
Ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two against and eight abstained. One member of the 21-member body was absent. Israel, the U.S. and the Palestinians are not on the committee.
Israel has long argued that an anti-Israeli bias exists within the U.N.
Others believe the resolution does not exclude Jews from the site and instead place the blame on Israel for the standoff.
“It calls for respecting the status quo of its religious sites, including the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound that continues to be threatened by the systematic incitement and provocative actions of the Israeli government and extremist Jewish groups,” Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said of the resolution, according to Al Jazeera.
Muslims refer to the site, the third most important in their religion, as al-Haram al-Sharif.
For Jews, the Old City is home to the Temple Mount.
“The Secretary-General reaffirms the importance of the old city of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions and stressed the importance of the religious and historical link of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian people for the holy sites,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
After the Palestinians were given membership in UNESCO, Israel and the U.S. cut their funding for the agency.