UNESCO Resolution on Jerusalem

The facts lost in the PR frenzy

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Image courtesy of Palestine Unbound

Justine Berg / Palestine Square
October 25, 2016


“The resolution prompted Israel to suspend cooperation with UNESCO, however an analysis of its actions reveals that Israel has not been keen on cooperating with the world cultural organization for almost ten years. In fact, the drama Israel has caused around this resolution may be a way to entrench its continued non-compliance with UNESCO decisions.”


In the days leading up to the adoption of a UNESCO resolution on Occupied Palestine, the media has focused almost exclusively on Israel’s allegation that the resolution denies Jewish heritage in the Old City of Jerusalem. A deeper look at the text of the resolution, as well as a review of developments in the Old City over the past decade, offer insight into the possible reasons for the creation of this media narrative. Simply put, it is part of a long series of repeated Israeli attempts to deflect attention from the ways in which Tel Aviv has refused to comply with previous UNESCO decisions on Jerusalem.

The flurry of news articles following the acceptance of the resolution on October 18th have continuously recycled Israeli claims that it is “contentious” and “anti-Israel” because it “ignores” and “denies” Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s holy sites. The text, however, specifically “[affirms] the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” and references other UNESCO documents that do the same. (For instance document 200 EX/25, which states “the Old City of Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and . . . each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city.”)

The resolution prompted Israel to suspend cooperation with UNESCO, however an analysis of its actions reveals that Israel has not been keen on cooperating with the world cultural organization for almost ten years. In fact, the drama Israel has caused around this resolution may be a way to entrench its continued non-compliance with UNESCO decisions.

[Continue reading here . . . ]


“Israel, the occupying Power, had not complied with any of the 12 decisions of the UNESCO Executive Board as well as six decisions of the World Heritage Committee that request the implementation of the reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls.”


 

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