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July 5, 2017 10:22 am

Israel Denounces UNESCO Vote That Called Jewish State an ‘Occupying Power’

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The headquarters of UNESCO in Paris. Photo: Matthias Ripp via Wikimedia Commons. – The United Nations cultural body UNESCO Tuesday passed on Tuesday a resolution condemning Israel’s activity in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the agency’s latest anti-Israel measure.

Ten countries voted in favor of the resolution’s text, with three member states — Jamaica, the Philippines and Burkina Faso — opposing the measure. Eight countries abstained.

The Jordanian-sponsored resolution denies Israel’s claims to eastern Jerusalem and refers to the Jewish state as “the occupying power” there. The text was considered a watered-down version of previous anti-Israel resolutions passed by UNESCO, since it emphasized “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.” Nevertheless, Israeli officials blasted the resolution.

“Nothing is more disgraceful than UNESCO declaring the world’s only Jewish state the ‘occupier’ of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Old City,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.

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Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the resolution “bizarre and irrelevant.”

“Israel is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and no UNESCO decision can change that decision,” the ministry said.

A UNESCO vote on an additional anti-Israel resolution, which seeks to recognize Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs as an endangered Palestinian heritage site, is scheduled to take place on Friday. The Hebron site is where the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are believed to be buried.

In May, UNESCO’s Executive Board passed a resolution denying Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Last October, UNESCO passed two separate resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites.

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