Monday, October 26, 2015

France lets Israel down at UNESCO (yet again)

European Jewish Press reports:

The US, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia voted against a Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which condemns the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”
The text also condemns ongoing Israeli archaeological excavations ‘’near the Temple Mount and elsewhere in Jerusalem’s Old City.’’

The resolution proposal had originally sought to name the Western Wall a Muslim religious site, but Arab states struck that demand from the draft earlier in the day.

The Israeli foreign foreign ministry slammed the resolution, saying it “aims to transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious confrontation and its adoption is a disgrace.”

The 58-member UNESCO Executive Council in Paris voted 26 in favor of the resolution, six against, with 15 abstentions.

A number of European countries, such as Austria, Spain, France, Italy and Macedonia were among those that abstained, along with Ethiopia, Angola and Albania.

An initial draft text of the resolution submitted on behalf of the Palestinian Authority had said UNESCO “affirms that the Western Wall is an integral part of al-Aksa Mosque/ al-Haram al-Sharif.”

Under pressure from the Europeans, the US, Russia and UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, however, that line on the Western Wall was pulled at the last moment by the resolution’s authors – Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

But the resolution retained a line which affirmed, for the first time, that the Mugrabi Gate, whose ramp is built over the women’s section of the Western Wall, “is an integral part of al-Aksa mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.”  Read more.

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