Israel recalls UNESCO envoy in protest at Jerusalem resolutions

Israel recalls UNESCO envoy in protest at Jerusalem resolutionsIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled country’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, on Wednesday evening for consultations to protest against the adoption of an anti-Israel resolution at the organization’s World Heritage Committee a few hours earlier.

“The theater of the absurd continues. We will decide what to do and what further steps to take against this organization,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday evening at a speech at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, announcing the move.

Shama-Hacohen himself demonstratively responded to the adoption of resolution at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris by throwing the resolution into a garbage bin bearing a sign reading “History.”

The resolution, which keeps the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites in danger, passed in a secret ballot by a vote of 10 to 2, with eight abstentions, and Jamaica not present.

Netanyahu said the results of the vote disappointed the Palestinians and some of the Arab states that wanted to see the motion passed by consensus, since UNESCO director- general Irina Bokova had said that if a consensus were not reached, the decision would not be implemented.

“I want to thank the leaders of Tanzania and Croatia who demanded a vote,” reporters cited the words of Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said Wednesday’s vote showed that the automatic majority against Israel was being broken.

Nevertheless, he said, it was absurd that this type of resolution – one that said Israel was not respecting the rights of other religions or respecting the holy places – even made it to UNESCO.

“We are the ones who do not preserve the holy places? Can you think of anything more absurd than that?” he asked.

“We are the only ones [in the region] who diligently and carefully preserve them. We all know what is happening in the Middle East with radical Islam that blows up mosques, churches and historical sites; slaughters Yazidis; slaughters Muslims who don’t agree with them; slaughters Christians; slaughters anything that they can get their hands on," Netanyahu added.

After the vote, Shama-Hacohen minced no words in his statement to the committee as he explained that the resolution is against Israel, the Jewish people and the “historical truth.”

It stands, he said, “in complete and utter contradiction to all values, which this disintegrating organization is supposed to stand for.”

The Palestinian representative told the committee that the storm Israel has created over these resolutions “perplexes him,” including its opposition to a consensus vote.

“Israel is trying to politicize religion. This is not about religion, it is about breaches of rights given the scope of the mandate,” he said as he added that he hopes the debate on such texts is over.
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