UNESCO headquarters in Paris
UNESCO headquarters in Paris iStock

Several Arab states submitted a new draft resolution to the UNESCO organization on Jerusalem prior to the meeting of the organization's Executive Committee to take place immediately after the Passover holiday.

The proposal is very short, and at first glance appears to be devoid of offensive language against Israel. The title of the proposal deals with 'occupied Palestine', and states that the Old City of Jerusalem is an international heritage site with a Jordanian connection.

The proposal also includes a direct reference to UN General Assembly resolutions on the legal status of 'Palestine' and Jerusalem, and in particular UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which declares all Jewish presence over the so-called 'Green Line' illegal and the recent UN General Assembly resolution condemning US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Arab states included a reference to the importance of the sanctity of Jerusalem to all religions in order to avoid the appearance that the resolution is biased against Israel and the Jewish people.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Carmel Shama Hacohen said that "Israel cannot agree to the proposal because it is a package of all the elements we fought against in a miniature package, wrapped in a misleading cover. This is an attempt to persuade us to swallow a small poisonous pill in the shape of a well-wrapped candy, instead of a bucket of poison from previous times that was different in size and that smells very bad due to false, offensive and inflammatory expressions."

"The wording does not include false and offensive details as in the past, but in fact it contains references to all the decisions of the past, including those that the Arabs have already withdrawn from, such as the Islamization of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount through the back door. It is trying to drag countries that voted against this in the past to change the way they vote," added Shama Hacohen.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry began working to ensure that the proposal is not brought for a vote as soon as it was published.

Israel has announced that will leave UNESCO at the end of the current year with the United States in response to the organization's biased decisions against it. "Our goal in the transition year until the final disengagement from UNESCO is to prevent the passing in a full consensus of decisions which are unacceptable to Israel, and this is what we are currently striving to achieve," explained Shama Hacohen.

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