Cooperation with UNESCO only partially suspended

Israel notifies it refuses to cooperate with the execution of any part of decision calling Jewish Landmarks part of "occupied Palestinian territory."

November 5, 2010 01:40
1 minute read.
Worshippers at Rachel's Tomb

311_Rachels Tomb. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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The Foreign Ministry clarified on Thursday that it has only partially suspended cooperation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Israel has notified UNESCO that it refuses to cooperate with the execution of any part of an October 21 decision by its executive board that stated that two Jewish biblical sites – the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb – were an integral part of the “occupied Palestinian territory.”

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The board in that same statement also took issue with Israeli archeological work around the area of the Aksa Mosque and its renovation work on the ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City.

More broadly, it attacked Israel for the West Bank security barrier and the continued restrictions on the flow of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip.

Speaking during a lengthy Knesset debate on Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, “Israel had suspended its cooperation with UNESCO.”

That line was later sent to the media by a member of his staff.

But Ayalon’s spokesman later clarified that Ayalon had not meant that statement to be all inclusive.

Earlier in the Knesset debate, Ayalon had said that cooperation would be suspended only in “the areas” that related to the October 21 UNESCO statement.

UNESCO spokeswoman Lucia Iglesias said that her organization had received no formal notification from Israel of any suspension of activity.

Meanwhile, Diaspora organizations called on UNESCO on Thursday to remove its endorsement from the a World Philosophy Day planned for Teheran later in November.

UNESCO has sponsored World Philosophy Day, which brings together leading philosophers from around the world for a day of debate, since 2002.

The ADL suggested that a parallel event sponsored by UNESCO could take place in Paris as an alternative to the Teheran conference.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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