Israeli minister calls for closure of UNESCO mission in Jerusalem

Minister Regev called for the closure of the UNESCO offices in Jerusalem following its resolution denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev has called for the closure of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) offices in Jerusalem following its resolution declaring Israeli sovereignty and jurisdiction over Jerusalem “null and void.”

Regev presented her demand at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

UNESCO maintains an office at the UN headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem alongside the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov.

The building was leased to the UN by Israel in 1967 to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and its Arab neighbors following the Six Day War.

UN in Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘Guest’

The Regavim organization backed Regev’s demand and called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to respond to the UNESCO resolution, passed on Israel’s Independence Day, by evicting that organization from the Armon Hanatziv compound and returning the property to the State of Israel.

Last month, Regavim, a research-based NGO dedicated to ensuring accountable use of Israel’s national land, filed a petition at the Jerusalem District Court against the UN, the Jerusalem Municipality, and the Israel Lands Authority following revelations of extensive illegal construction and a land grab being carried out by the UN inside the compound run by UNTSO.

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Regavim “feels that instead of just words – action should be taken by the government by informing the United Nations that Israel will reclaim the Armon Hanatziv compound, since it is the rightful titleholder of the complex.”

“There is no day more suitable than the Day of Independence to announce the removal of the anti-Semitic organization from the Armon HaNatziv compound, which belongs to the State of Israel,” a Regavim spokesman said.

“The UN has forgotten that it is in Jerusalem as a guest of the State and is utilizing property of the state. Once the tenant starts behaving like the landlord, it’s a sign that it’s time to find another tenant. That’s what true independence looks,” he said.

Israel has begun to take action following the offensive resolution and on Wednesday formally reprimanded the Swedish ambassador because of his country’s vote in support of the resolution. Sweden was the only European country to vote in favor of the UNESCO resolution.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Benjamin announced on Wednesday a $1 M. cut in Israeli fund transfers to UNESCO.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News