Palestinian Authority issues UNESCO ultimatum

Jordan, PA threaten UNESCO members over upcoming vote on Jerusalem holy sites.

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Nitsan Keidar,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority sent a letter Monday night to 21 member nations of the United Nation's World Heritage Committee and who are set to vote Wednesday on another UNESCO decision regarding Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall.

In their letter, the PA abstained from describing Israel as an "occupying power," presumably to soften their anti-Israel stance.

While the Palestinian Authority is not a voting member of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, Jordan has lent its backing to the PA.

In the new resolution, the name "Western Wall" which was in quotes, is now written without quotes. However, the Temple Mount is still referred to as "Al-Aqsa Haram e-Sharif" and is still recognized as an exclusively Muslim site, with no mention of the Temple Mount or its significance for Jews anywhere in the document.

However, after several countries announced they would not vote for the "Palestinian cause" this time, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan have begun to threaten the voting countries.

Political sources say the threat to change UNESCO's decision is "an action that crosses political red lines and reeks of pressure and desperation. It's obvious that the PA and Jordan are trying to force a consensus to which there will be no opposition, and they're doing everything they can to push that agenda forward."

Israeli UNESCO ambassador Carmel Shama said, "The Palestinians' ultimatum and their threats only emphasize their position and expose them as liars and bullies. We're making global diplomatic efforts to prevent unanimous anti-Israel agreements on Jerusalem - and this letter from the Arabs is an excellent sign that we're moving in the right direction.

"The Arabs understand that after Mexico and Italy, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise, and they're shouting: Stop deserting us or we'll burn down your decision-making club with extreme anti-Israel decisions that will harm your organization in the long term," Shama concluded.