UN culture organization votes to adopt resolution denying Israeli rights to capital, Jerusalem.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Steering Committee voted Tuesday afternoon to adopt a resolution denying Israel’s rights to its own capital, Jerusalem.
The vote took place on Israel’s Independence Day. 22 nations voted in favor of the resolution, compared to 10 which voted against it. 23 nations abstained.
Among the countries which voted against the resolution were the United States, Italy, Britain, Holland, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo and Germany
The resolution declares that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”
The resolution also condemns Israel for the military conflicts with the Hamas terrorist organization, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, slammed the resolution as an assault on the history of the Jewish people.
“This biased and blatantly deceitful decision, and the attempts to dispute the connection between Israel and Jerusalem, will not change the simple fact that this city is the historic and eternal capital of the Jewish people. Israel will not stand silently by in the face of this shameful resolution,” Danon said.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ridiculed UNESCO during a question-and-answer segment in the annual Tanach Quiz, saying that Israel does not believe in UNESCO.
“We don’t believe in UNESCO,” said Netanyahu.
The Prime Minister’s comment echoed a statement by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) on Monday, in which she derided the UNESCO resolution and the denial of the fact of Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem as “fake history”.
“This is absurd. We have become used to the concept of ‘fake news’. Well, welcome to ‘fake history’,” said Hotovely.
“UNESCO has long been politicized and unfortunately has become a tool in the service of Palestinian propaganda against Israel.
“Such absurd and historically baseless resolutions undermine UNESCO’s mission of safeguarding humanity’s cultural heritage.
“We, as Israelis, don’t need UNESCO’s approval of our history in our land. However, for the countries voting tomorrow, I must say in the clearest terms: if you cherish history and affirm UNESCO’s duty to respect historical truth, there is no choice other than to vote against this latest attempt to subvert international institutions in order to attack Israel.”
Italy was the only European nation to come out against the resolution before the vote. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano denounced the vote as “another politicized resolution on Jerusalem.”
“Our opinion is very clear. UNESCO cannot be the place for a permanent ideological confrontation,” Alfano said.
Submitted by: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan
The Executive Board,
1. Having examined document 201 EX/30,
2. Recalling the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions (1949) and their additional Protocols (1977), the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and its additional Protocols, the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981) and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO on the protection of cultural heritage, as well as resolutions and decisions of UNESCO relating to Jerusalem, also recalling previous UNESCO decisions relating to the reconstruction and development of Gaza as well as UNESCO decisions on the two Palestinian sites in Al-Khalil/Hebron and in Bethlehem,
3. Affirming that nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem, including United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 (2016),
4. Reaffirming the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,
5. Reminding that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith,
6. Further recalling the 11 decisions of the Executive Board: 185 EX/Decision 14, 187 EX/Decision 11, 189 EX/Decision 8, 190 EX/Decision 13, 192 EX/Decision 11, 194 EX/Decision 5.D, 195 EX/Decision 9, 196 EX/Decision 26, 197 EX/Decision 32, 199 EX/Dec.19.1, 200 EX/Decision 25 and the seven World Heritage Committee decisions: 34 COM/7A.20, 35 COM/7A.22, 36 COM/7A.23, 37 COM/7A.26, 38 COM/7A.4, 39 COM/7A.27, 40 COM/7A.13,
7. Regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all violations which are not in conformity with the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;
8. Also regrets the Israeli refusal to implement the UNESCO request to the Director-General to appoint a permanent representative to be stationed in East Jerusalem to report on a regular basis about all aspects covering the fields of competence of UNESCO in East Jerusalem, and reiterates its request to the Director-General to appoint, as soon as possible, the above-mentioned representative;
9. Stresses again the urgent need to implement the UNESCO reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, and invites the Director-General and the World Heritage Centre, to exert all possible efforts, in line with their mandates and in conformity with the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, decisions and resolutions, to ensure the prompt implementation of the mission and, in case of non-implementation, to propose possible effective measures to ensure its implementation;
30.II Reconstruction and development of Gaza
10. Deplores the military confrontations in and around the Gaza Strip and the civilian casualties caused, as well as the continuous negative impact in the fields of competence of UNESCO, the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities, including breaches of the inviolability of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools;
11. Also deplores the continuous Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items and requests Israel to immediately ease this closure;
12. Thanks the Director-General for initiatives that have already been implemented in Gaza in the fields of education, culture and youth and for the safety of media professionals, calls upon her to continue her active involvement in the reconstruction of Gaza’s damaged educational and cultural components and reiterates, in this regard, its request to her to upgrade the UNESCO Antenna in Gaza and to organize, as soon as possible, an information meeting on the current situation in Gaza in the fields of competence of UNESCO and on the outcome of the projects conducted by UNESCO;
30.III The two Palestinian sites of Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Al- Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem
13. Reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in Al-Khalil/Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and shares the conviction affirmed by the international community that the two sites are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
14. Deplores the ongoing Israeli excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and of a Wall inside the Old City of Al-Khalil/Hebron which are illegal under international law and harmfully affect the authenticity and integrity of the site, and the subsequent denial of freedom of movement and freedom of access to places of worship and asks Israel, the occupying Power, to end all violations which are not in conformity with the provisions of relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;
15. Regrets the visual impact of the Wall on the site of Bilal