As Israel celebrated its Independence Day, the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO voted May 2 to deny the Jewish state’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.
“All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and must be rescinded forthwith,” states a resolution passed by UNESCO in a 22-10 vote, with 23 abstentions.
Yet the measure also reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” language Israeli officials view as an improvement from two UNESCO resolutions passed in October 2016 that ignore all Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites and refer to the Temple Mount exclusively by its Islamic name.
Arab nations that introduced the resolution passed May 2 modified its language to garner more support from Europe. The plan appears to have backfired, as six European countries voted against the measure—the U.K., Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Greece and Germany. The U.S., Paraguay, Ukraine and Togo also voted against the bill. Among those nations supporting the anti-Israel measure were Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, South Africa and Sweden. France and Spain abstained from the vote.
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