UNESCO adopts resolution calling Jerusalem ‘occupied’

3rd May 2017
UNESCO adopts resolution calling Jerusalem ‘occupied’

JERUSALEM (AA): The executive board of the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday passed a resolution describing Jerusalem as “occupied” and challenging Israeli sovereignty over the city.

UNESCO adopted the resolution with 22 member states voting in favor, 10 voting against and 23 abstaining.

The resolution states that Jerusalem’s Old City is “entirely Palestinian” and stresses its historical “Muslim and Christian” heritage.

The decision also describes Israel as an “occupying power” that has no sovereignty over the city.

What’s more, the resolution affirms the Islamic character of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) and Rachel’s Tomb in the city Bethlehem.

Palestinian National Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki welcomed the resolution in a statement.

“We will defend our heritage and culture, our past and our future,” Malki said, according to media reports.

Abdulatif al-Qanou, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told Anadolu Agency that the UNESCO resolution refuted Israeli claims on Jerusalem and Palestinian territory.

Citing ongoing Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, Qanou called on the Muslim world and the international community to recognize and practice the terms of the resolution.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the resolution as “absurd”.

Speaking to foreign diplomats at a reception marking the country’s founding, Netanyahu said: “There are more countries today that are abstaining or supporting Israel than there are those opposing Israel. But my goal is to have no votes in UNESCO on Israel.”

In anticipation of the resolution’s adoption earlier in the day, Netanyahu declared: “We [Israel] do not believe in UNESCO.

“There is no other people in the world for whom Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people,” he added.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It unilaterally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its “eternal and undivided” capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

[Archive Photo: Jerusalem showing Dome of the rock. Photographer: Berthold Werner/ Public Domain wikimedia]

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