Israel cancels Unesco mission to Jerusalem

2013-05-20 15:00
Palestinians chant slogans during a demonstration to mark the Nakba or the "Day of Catastrophe", at Al-Aqsa mosque following Friday prayers outside the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. (File, AFP)

Palestinians chant slogans during a demonstration to mark the Nakba or the "Day of Catastrophe", at Al-Aqsa mosque following Friday prayers outside the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel announced on Monday it was calling off a United Nations investigative mission to the Old City in annexed east Jerusalem because of Palestinian efforts to politicise the visit.

"Israel has cancelled the delegation," which was due to have arrived the same day, a foreign ministry official said.

"The Palestinians were not respecting the understandings. The visit was supposed to be professional, [but] they were taking measures that showed they were politicising the event and not letting the delegation focus on professional sides of it," the official said.

Israel in April agreed that the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) could assess the state of the Old City of Jerusalem, the first such monitoring mission since 2004, following pressure from Jordan and the Palestinians, who became members of the organisation in 2011.

But ahead of the start of the delegation's work, the Palestinians were trying to "politicise" it, Israel said, contrary to understandings reached by the sides, and to change the action plan Unesco decided upon in 2010.

"Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki recently said they considered the mission a 'commission of inquiry'," the official said, "and said they would discuss political issues with the mission."

"The Palestinians are also pushing for the delegation to visit the Temple Mount," which is revered as Judaism's most sacred place, said the official, using the Israeli term for the complex known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Cultural and religious heritage is a highly politicised issue for Israel and the Palestinians.

In March, the Palestinian Authority confirmed a verbal agreement dating back to 1924 giving Jordan custodianship over Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war.

Read more on:    un  |  palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
16 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.