Netanyahu is completely correct in stating that the actions taken by UNESCO last Thursday in supporting the claim that Israel and the Jewish people have no historical connection with the Temple Mount is utter rubbish. This was a fabrication and a mythology that is based strictly on anti-Israel feelings among some states and anti-Semitism on the part of others. The inability of the West in particular to raise the facts to a level of proving the sponsors to be prejudicial bigots was outrageous. Unfortunately, for the State of Israel, when its Prime Minister has lost so much personal credibility himself, it very difficult to expect him to be able to champion Israel’s cause in a community that at best is neutral towards Israel’s claims of bias.
Netanyahu is worried about whether the Obama Administration, in its waning days, will choose to present either at the U.N. or independently a major proposal as how to resolve the Israel-Palestinian stand-off. The problem is that with respect to Obama’s decision Bibi has totally poisoned his relations with the President Obama so that he has no effective credibility. At the same time with respect to the greater international community, Bibi also has no political leverage. His unwillingness to stop any settlement development—or even a general cessation of expansion on the West Bank–in order to facilitate peace negotiations has reduced Israel’s ability to challenge blatantly hostile acts like the UNESCO vote.
The UNESCO vote passed by a 24-6 vote with 26 nations abstaining and 2 absent! The absurdity of the vote on its merits and the inability of Israel to muster more than 6 of the 58 UNESCO member states to object ought to give Israel’s leadership serious pause. While there is no direct linkage between Israel’s policies and the UNESCO vote, the Netanyahu Government is being very short-sighted in permitting domestic political considerations to unnecessarily influence Israel’s ability to garner international support. Israel probably would not have been able to convince the UN agency to withdraw its resolution, but it might have sent out a very different signal if there had been more votes in opposition.