Netanyahu Slams 'Absurd' UNESCO Vote, Vows To Cut More Funding

Nick Mcbride
May 6, 2017

Tuesday's Unesco vote, which reaffirms "the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions", also accused Israel of actions that have "altered, or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City".

Last October, UNESCO passed two anti-Israel resolutions with harsher language, denying all Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem's holy sites.

Italy was the only European Union country to publicly oppose the resolution ahead of the vote.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip, and want Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it took after the Six-Day War in 1967.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier made phone calls to European leaders in a bid to convince them to reject the resolution.

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However, the prime minister also mentioned that the number of countries supporting the biannual anti-Israel resolution at UNESCO had dropped. "Israel will not sit by while the organization calls for the denial of our sovereignty in Jerusalem", Netanyahu stated.

The resolution, which declares Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem "null and void", was backed by 22 countries voting in favour, a UNESCO spokesman said on Tuesday.

"Even now, after this miserable vote, this blue and white flag is flying high above the Temple Mount and throughout Israel's eternal capital city, Jerusalem, waving in the wind, saying to all 'here we are, and we are here to stay, '" Shama-Hacohen said, according to the Times of Israel.

"My goal is to have no votes in UNESCO on Israel", Netanyahu said. He also thanked Greece, Great Britain, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the Ukraine, Paraguay and Togo, who opposed the resolution.

While many Republicans have pushed for the USA government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, official US policy recognizes Tel Aviv as the capital of the Jewish state. This vote repeats a United Nations ritual of political assaults against the legitimacy of Israel's presence in its own capital city. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called it "a distorted, unsafe and illegitimate revision of history, which serves only as bait for adversaries of Israel seeking to strip the Jewish people's right to self-determination and deny its historic and religious link to Jerusalem".

Other reports by VgToday

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