PA welcomes anti-Israel UNESCO resolution

PA lauds UNESCO for resolution denying Israel's rights to Jerusalem.

Elad Benari,

UNESCO headquarters in Paris
UNESCO headquarters in Paris

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s bureau in charge of foreign affairs on Tuesday welcomed the resolution passed by the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, which denies Israel's rights to Jerusalem.

“We reiterate the single most important threat confronting Jerusalem and other important heritage sites in Palestine continues to be the Israeli occupation and its illegal practices, as well as its intransigence and refusal to respect international law and the obligations it must honor in accordance with these laws,” said a statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency.

It expressed appreciation to the member states that had voted in favor of the resolution, while expressing “disappointment” in the “small minority that succumbed to the cynical campaign of political manipulation against Palestine’s resolution.”

“The State of Palestine will continue to work with the international community to advance respect for international law and ensure that this respect is universal,” the statement added.

The resolution passed Tuesday 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and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith."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 Gaza. 22 countries voted in favor of the resolution, compared to 10 which voted against it. 23 countries abstained.

This is not the first time that UNESCO has passed a resolution against Israel. Late last year, the cultural agency passed a series of resolutions which attempted to erase the connection of the Jewish people to the holy places in Jerusalem and to present those places as holy to Muslims only.

Those resolutions maintained that the Western Wall and Temple Mount will be referred to by their Arabic names and the Hebrew terms for the sites will only appear in quotation marks in UN references.

UNESCO Secretary General Irina Bokova was among those who spoke out at the time against the agency’s executive board decision to adopt the anti-Israel resolution.