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US steps in, stops PA going after Israel at UNESCO

April 24, 2013 11:01

In US-brokered deal, Israel will discuss Mugrabi Bridge that leads to Temple Mount, allow UNESCO to survey sites.

Mugrabi Bridge

Mugrabi Bridge 521. (photo credit:Seth J. Frantzman)

Following US intervention, the Palestinian Authority has agreed to postpone five resolutions condemning Israel that they were to present to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board in Paris, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

The resolutions would have condemned Israel's activity in the West Bank as well as its endangerment of Jerusalem's "Arab character", the radio said.

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As part of the agreement brokered by the US between the PA, Jordan and Israel, Israel has in return agreed to allow UNESCO experts to survey a number of sites in Jerusalem. Israel has also agreed to take part in UNESCO meetings about the Mugrabi Bridge, which runs from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount and which has been a source of conflict between Israel and the Waqf Muslim religious trust. 

Citing safety concerns of Jerusalem city engineer Shlomo Eshkol the municipality closed the Mugrabi Bridge in December, 2011. The closure elicited harsh reactions from both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas warning that the closure was tantamount to a “declaration of war” on Muslim holy sites.

“The closure of the Mugrabi Bridge is is in the context of [Israel’s] religious war against our holy sites,” Hamas said in a statement.

The Islamist organization also claimed that the decision was part of Israel's effort to completely Judaize Jerusalem by deporting residents and revoking their ID cards, demolishing their houses and confiscating their lands. 

The Palestinian Authority also condemned the closure of the Mugrabi Bridge and said that Israel does not have any jurisdiction over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.    
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