UNESCO to hold vote in Poland in July; Israel continues lobbying efforts to block vote
UNESCO is set to vote on an additional resolution claiming Israel has no sovereignty over Jerusalem and that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron is a Muslim holy site.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will vote during the United Nation’s World Heritage Committee in Poland next week. According to UNESCO, the resolution aims to recognize the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Muslim site.
UNESCO has already declared the Temple Mount a Muslim site, as well as denied Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Israel has been lobbying to create a coalition majority to vote against the resolution. 7 of the 21 member body votes are needed to block the latest anti-Israel resolution.
On Sunday, Israel denied a request by UNESCO to visit Hebron, Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, stating “As a matter of principle, Israel will not provide legitimization to any Palestinian political move under the guise of culture and heritage.”
In May, UNESCO passed a resolution denying Israel’s historic and legal sovereignty in Jerusalem on the same day as Israel’s Independence Day. The resolution claims Israel’s construction and excavations of holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron as illegal, as well as criticizes Israel for closing border crossings into the Gaza Strip, as well as deploring “military confrontations in around and the Gaza Strip” with no mention of terrorism.
In June of 2016, UNESCO voted that the Temple Mount would be referred to as “Al-Aqsa” in all official documents and official reference. Just a few weeks later, UNESCO voted to return the holy site to the “historical status quo” before the 1967 war.
UNESCO will meet and vote in Krakow, Poland, July 2-12, 2017.