Unesco resolution on Jerusalem stirs Israeli anger

2016-04-21 23:43
Unesco director general and UN Secretary General candidate Irina Bokova. (Richard Drew, AP)

Unesco director general and UN Secretary General candidate Irina Bokova. (Richard Drew, AP)

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

Paris - The Israeli government and Jewish groups have expressed outrage at a resolution adopted by the UN cultural agency that put the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks, described Jewish sites as "so-called" and even claimed that some Jewish graves were bogus.

The resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries and adopted by Unesco's 58-nation executive board last week, condemned the Israeli government's stewardship of east Jerusalem, home to the city's most sensitive holy sites.

The April 15 document also decried the renovation of "so-called Jewish ritual baths" and the alleged creation of "Jewish fake graves". Sites were either referred to by their Arabic or English names or, in the case of the Western Wall Plaza, the holiest site where Jews can pray, were put in quotes.

Jewish groups were appalled by the language and anger has been percolating for days over what was seen as a disavowal of Jewish claims to holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Many Jews see it as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

In a letter sent on Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press, senior Israeli diplomat Dore Gold - a former ambassador to the United Nations - described the resolution as "hideous".

Unesco declined comment, instead pointing the AP to a statement issued on April 17 by the organisation's director general, Irina Bokova, in response to the resolution, and a letter written to a French Jewish group the next day.

"This organisation should not be politicised," Bokova wrote in the letter. "As director general of Unesco I've taken a stand to avoid inflaming the situation in the Middle East any further."

Read more on:    unesco  |  israel

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.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.