The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization passed six anti-Israel resolutions at the meeting of its executive committee in Paris on Friday.
UNESCO condemned Israel for not fulfilling an agreement from April to allow a delegation from the organization to inspect preservation and conservation work at 18 sites in Jerusalem’s Old City – six synagogues, six mosques and six churches – in exchange for a Palestinian agreement to postpone five anti-Israel resolutions pending before UNESCO’s board meeting that month.
Israel canceled the UNESCO contingent’s visit at the last minute in May, saying that the Palestinians had “politicized” the delegation.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said at the time of the cancelation that, contrary to the agreement brokered in April at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, the Palestinian Authority was insisting on taking the delegation to the Temple Mount and meeting with Palestinian political personalities, not just “engineers, architects and professional people.”
UNESCO on Friday passed five additional resolutions renewing the condemnations of Israel that had been postponed as part of the agreement. The resolutions condemned Israel’s archaeological digs at the Mugrabi Bridge near the Temple Mount, the naming of the Cave of the Patriarch’s and Rachel’s Tomb in the West Bank as national heritage sites, as well as the deterioration of education and cultural institutions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Russia and France backed all of the resolutions, while the United States was the only nation to oppose all of the measures. Israel is not a member of UNESCO’s executive committee.
Israel Radio quoted Israel’s envoy to the organization, Nimrod Barkan, as saying that UNESCO was continuing its “obsession” with Israel.
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Herb Keinon contributed to this report.