Tuesday, May 2, 2017

UNESCO Okays Resolution Denying Israeli Claims To Jerusalem, Palestinians Applaud Vote, Netanyahu: 'Absurd' UNESCO Vote Heralds 'Change' In World Support




On Independence Day, UNESCO okays resolution denying Israeli claims to Jerusalem



The United Nation’s cultural body on Tuesday passed the latest in a series of resolutions that denies Israeli claims to Jerusalem, in a move both forcefully condemned by Israel and touted as a diplomatic feat due to the growing number of countries that opposed it.

Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine,” which indicates that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem, had been expected to pass, given the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body.

The vote, which coincided with Israel’s Independence Day, passed with 22 countries in favor, 23 abstentions, 10 opposed, and the representatives of three countries absent.

The resolution indicates rejection of the Jewish state’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem. Israel is referred to throughout the document as the “occupying power” in Jerusalem, indicating that it has no legal or historical ties to any part of the city. 

The resolution also harshly criticizes the government for various construction projects in Jerusalem’s Old City and at holy sites in Hebron, and calls for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza without mentioning attacks from the Hamas-run Strip.

The 10 countries that voted against the resolution were the US, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo, and Germany.

Its wording was slightly less harsh on Jerusalem than previous resolutions, in that it does affirm the importance of the city to the “three monotheistic religions.”

In the moments after the vote passed, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, draped in a large Israeli flag, addressed the meeting.







The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday welcomed a resolution passed by the UN’s cultural body denying Israeli claims to any part of Jerusalem, while alleging that Israel poses a threat to the city’s heritage sites.

Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” indicated that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem. It passed with 22 votes in favor, 23 abstentions, 10 opposed, and representatives of three countries absent.

Throughout the resolution text Israel is referred to as the “occupying power” in Jerusalem, indicating that it has no legal or historical ties to any part of the city.

In a statement, the Palestinian ministry thanked UNESCO for “reaffirming the centrality of Jerusalem to world heritage as well as the need to confront the dangers posed by the illegal practices of Israel, the occupying power.”
Countries that supported the vote have “honored their commitments in relation to the resolution and the principles enshrined therein, including affording international heritage sites due protection without prejudice and political considerations,” it said.

Noting Israeli diplomatic efforts to thwart the resolution, the statement said that Palestinians were “mindful of the cynical and misleading efforts by the occupying power to deflect attention from the real issues at hand.”
“We are happy that this campaign of intimidation, political bullying, and misinformation failed to achieve its desired results and was unable to derail the discussions and decision-making of states from the real and important issues addressed in the resolution.”

Israeli officials condemned the outcome of the vote, but, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were quick to cheer what was perceived as a diplomatic improvement for Israel.










Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday derided as “absurd” a resolution passed by the UN’s cultural body denying Israeli claims to Jerusalem, at the same time lauding what he described as increased global support for the Jewish state in international forums.

“Enough,” he declared. “The theater of the absurd when it comes to Israel has to stop.”

Politicians from the opposition, meanwhile, branded the vote — which coincided with Israel’s Independence Day — as “anti-Semitic.”

“Today there are more countries abstaining or supporting Israel than countries against Israel,” the prime minister said. “That is a change, for the first time.”

Submitted to UNESCO’s Executive Board by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, the resolution on “Occupied Palestine” referred to Israel as the “occupying power” when discussing Jerusalem, indicating that it has no legal or historical ties to any part of the city. The resolution passed with 22 votes in favor, 23 abstentions, 10 opposed, and representatives of three countries absent.

“In the past two days I had talks with many of the leaders of your countries, heads of state, foreign ministers… regarding the absurd vote that is being held now in the UN,” Netanyahu said.

“My goal is to have no votes in UNESCO on Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“Last year UNESCO said that the Jewish people have no connection to the Temple Mount,” he recalled. “Can you imagine?” He laughed at the notion, then continued: “3,000 years ago Solomon built his Temple there, and UNESCO said a year ago that we have no connection to the Temple Mount.”
The 10 countries that voted against the resolution were the US, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo, and Germany.







The United States rejects the “biased” and “counterproductive” UNESCO resolution passed Tuesday that suggested Israel has no sovereign claim to Jerusalem, a spokesman for the US Mission to the United Nations told The Times of Israel.

“Once again, the United States rejects the adoption of these anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO,” the US official said. “Like other parts of the UN system, UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to deride and delegitimize the State of Israel.”

The vote, which coincided with Israel’s 69th Independence Day, was passed Tuesday with 22 countries in favor, 23 abstentions, 10 opposed, and the representatives of three countries absent.
Titled “Occupied Palestine,” the resolution refers to Israel as the “occupying power” in Jerusalem — language that indicates it has no legal or historical ties to any part of the city.
“Although several of these anti-Israel resolutions are typically adopted biannually at UNESCO, over time they have become increasingly political in nature, and now attempt to deny the historic connections of the Jewish people to the holy sites of Jerusalem,” the US official said.