The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board voted Tuesday in Paris to accept the “Occupied Palestine” resolution advanced in Paris last week by the Palestinian Authority, which erases the connection between Judaism, Jews, Christianity and holy sites in Jerusalem.
Even experts in the United Kingdom clearly recognized that connection, lamenting the horrific tragedy of the division of the holy city of Jerusalem, more than half a century ago, before the 1967 Six Day War.
The resolution has not only deepened the divide between member nations in the organization, but may have also further threatened the funding of the world body.
Mexico had announced its intention to trigger a special clause designed to force a new vote on the issue, but at the end, the nation’s representative elected to issue a statement on its changed position on the resolution. The statement was echoed by Brazil, who also announced it had changed its position as well. Neither statement, in the long run, made any difference in the vote, which has further embittered nations where Christianity is treasured as a natural growth from Judaism.
The resolution has obliterated any mention of the historic link between Jews and the holy sites in Jerusalem and instead refer to Judaism’s holiest sites in Judaism – the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – solely by their Islamic names and referring to them as Muslim holy sites.
Israel suspended its funding to UNESCO when the body approved membership for the Palestinian Authority, as did the United States, which used to provide nearly one quarter (22 percent) of the organization’s budget.
Japan has now also threatened to withdraw its funding as well, warning last week that it withheld its annual dues from UNESCO, pending a review to ensure the world body is properly functioning to “foster trust” between its member nations.