Unesco passes resolution criticising Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem

Patrice Gainsbourg
Mai 8, 2017

Twenty-two states voted in favor of the decision, which refers to Israel as an occupying power and declares all its legislative and administrative measures in Jerusalem "null and void".

Submitted to UNESCO's Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on "Occupied Palestine" will most likely pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body.

It also called on Israel to cease "persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects" in east Jerusalem, particularly the walled Old City, which is home to sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jews have a special bond to the city. In wake of the resolution, I have instructed Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem to deduct $1 million from the funds that Israel transfers to the UN.

"Yesterday, UNESCO again passed a delusional resolution regarding Israel's status in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish People for 3,000 years", Netanyahu said, adding, "I very much appreciate the across-the-board unity of nearly all political parties in rejecting this absurd decision".

Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev will demand that the offices of UNESCO in Jerusalem be shut following the vote of the resolution.

In Israel's latest diplomatic spat, officials summoned Carl Magnus Nesser, Sweden's ambassador to Tel Aviv, to express their "disappointment" after Sweden became the only European Union country to vote for the resolution.

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The United States led the group of nations that voted against the resolution, which also included the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo, and Germany.

"UNESCO rejects Israel's measures and occupation of East Jerusalem in milestone resolution adopted with significant majority".

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Netanyahu said, "UNESCO again accepted an absurd resolution yesterday about the status of Jerusalem", warning that what he called the agency's "systematic harassment has a price".

Some Israeli opposition parliament members on Tuesday said that the UNESCO resolution was grounded in anti-Semitism. These resolutions accuse Tel Aviv of "human rights violations in the occupied Syrian Golan" and the West Bank.

United Nations cultural agency calls on "occupying power" to end projects aimed at altering "character and status of the Holy City".

Last year, the UNESCO approved a motion that endorses the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slams Israeli provocations around the holy site.

The draft resolution is also expected to condemn the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem and call for the deployment of worldwide observes to the city.

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