PM recalls ambassador to UNESCO after resolution passes Wednesday; PA praises resolution, claims resolutions “preserve the status quo of historical holy sites”
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted in a second resolution Wednesday that cuts Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem, specifically the Temple Mount.
A reported 10 states of 21 voted in favor to adopting the “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” resolution, with 8 abstaining and two opposing. The vote was held by secret ballot as requested by both Tanzania and Croatia. Burkina Faso, Croatia, Finland, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Korea and Zimbabwe abstained.
Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the second anti-Israel resolution passed by UNESCO this month while speaking to university students in Herzelia, confirming that Israel has recalled its ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-HaCohen. He stated “I have decided to summon home for consultations our Ambassador to UNESCO and we will decide what to do, what our future steps will be vis-à-vis this organization. But it must be understood that in the end, and it will take time, this absurdity that hurts not only historical truth and present truth, but also – in my view – hurts the UN itself, this absurdity will end as Israel’s strength grows and expands.”
Shama-HaCohen stated on their recall “This is a necessary step. The motive is the need to rethink and reevaluate our relations with UNESCO given the persistent persecution of Israel and the Jewish people… The Palestinians and the Arab states were sure the resolution would be adopted by consensus [rather than by a secret ballot], but their request was denied and only Islamic states, as well as Cuba and Vietnam, stood by their side,” referring to Palestinian and Jordanian lobbying efforts in world organizations and institutions, mainly the United Nations.
The Palestinian Authority praised the resolution, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and leading PA negotiator Saeb Erekat claiming that such resolutions “preserve the status quo of historical holy sites”. He stated that “The State of Palestine, in full cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, through diplomatic channels, has been doing everything possible in order to preserve the status quo of the historical holy sites. Israel’s illegal attempts to change the identity of occupied east Jerusalem, including its Christian and Muslim traditions, have been ongoing since its occupation of the city in 1967…Through an orchestrated campaign, Israel has been using archeological claims and distortion of facts as a way to legitimize the annexation of occupied east Jerusalem.”