Israeli officials blast UNESCO resolution calling Israel ‘occupying power’

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon deemed UNESCO body a “faux heritage committee” after it declared Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem. 

Senior Israeli officials strongly condemned a resolution passed by the World Heritage Committee in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) labeling Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem.

“Nothing is more disgraceful than UNESCO declaring the world’s only Jewish state the ‘occupier’ of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Old City,” said Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon shortly after the vote in Krakow, Poland.

“Yesterday, I toured the City of David and the Old City with UN ambassadors from around the world and explained the deep and ancient connection between the Jewish people and the holiest sites of our nation,” he continued. “No faux ‘heritage committee’ can sever the bonds between our people and Jerusalem.”

Tuesday’s resolution condemns Israeli archeological discoveries of evidence pointing to the Jewish people’s long-held connection to Jerusalem, and “regrets the failure of the Israeli occupying authorities to cease the persistent excavations, tunneling, works, projects and other illegal practices in East Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.”

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The following ten states voted in favor of the resolution: Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Turkey, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Cuba. The Philippines, Jamaica and Burkina Faso voted against with another eight countries, Angola, Croatia, Finland, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Korea and Tanzania, abstaining.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s response to the vote echoed Danon’s.

“UNESCO’s repeated fake claims do not change the Jewish connection to Jerusalem or reality on the ground,” he said.

“Instead of protecting hundreds of sites destroyed by radical Islam…UNESCO is acting against the only Middle Eastern country safeguarding all holy sites and granting worshipers religious freedom.”

Earlier this year, Israel cut $1 million in payments to UNESCO after the UN body declared that Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is “null and void.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News