Unesco heritage committee rounds on Israel over Jerusalem

By Anna Sheinman, June 26, 2013

The Israeli government has condemned a Unesco resolution which criticises its policies towards the Old City of Jerusalem, saying it is a “dark day for Unesco”.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation was “acting outside the boundary of reality”.

The resolution, passed by Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, claimed that Israeli archaelogical activity is damaging Muslim sites on Temple Mount and criticised Israel for cancelling a Unesco delegation to Jerusalem. Israel had argued that the Palestinian Authority had tried to politicise the visit.

Dr Shimon Samuels of the The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the only Jewish organisation accredited to the committee, said: “Since Palestine was accepted as a member-state of Unesco, to paraphrase the military strategist, Von Clausewitz, heritage has become war by another means.” He also noted that seven of the 21 states on the committee are Muslim, making the victory “virtually automatic”.

He added: “The World Heritage Committee has important business to which it should be attending, rather than singling out Israel and continuing to fuel the Palestinians’ delusional worldview.”

Last updated: 12:34pm, June 26 2013