UNESCO Passes Anti-Israel Resolution

Dome of the Rock, Beit-ul-Moqaddas (File Photo)Dome of the Rock, Beit-ul-Moqaddas (File Photo)

UNESCO’s executive board has passed a resolution that criticizes Israel’s actions in occupied Beit-ul-Moqaddas and the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian leaders hailing the move as a “step forward” and a “victory for international law”.

The resolution, which describes Beit-ul-Moqaddas as “occupied” and declares Israel’s sovereignty over the city “null and void”, was backed by 22 countries, a UNESCO spokesman said on Tuesday, Aljazeera reported.

The United States, Germany, Italy and seven other board members voted against it.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki welcomed the result of the vote, saying that the world had chosen to “stand on the side of what is right in the face of [Israel’s] injustice, occupation and its illegitimate policies”.

“We will defend our heritage and culture, our past and our future,” Malki said.

“We will face all the campaigns of distortion and destruction led by the Israeli occupation authority, armed with international law and the will of our Palestinian people who are capable of creating a future free from occupation.”

The resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.

It calls on Israel, as the “occupying power”, to cease “persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Beit-ul-Moqaddas”, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

It reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of Beit-ul-Moqaddas and its walls for the three monotheistic religions”, while accusing Israel of taking actions that have “altered, or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City”.

The resolution, which has softer wording than another UNESCO decision last year, also criticizes Israel for its blockade of Gaza Strip.

The executive board’s decision now goes to the plenary, which will consider the issue on Friday, UNESCO spokesman Roni Amelan said.

“We understand very well that we are struggling against a huge power supported by many countries, including the US. And we know that our success will be cumulative-step by step, stone by stone,” Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Aljazeera.

“We know it won’t change the reality on the ground immediately, but this is certainly one step forward.”

In 2011, the Palestinians were admitted as a member state of UNESCO, which led the US to suspend its payments to the organization.

Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, and the besieged Gaza Strip, is considered illegal under international law.


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