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Israel ambassador attacks Unesco over "offensive and unjust" occupier claim

Mark Regev has launched an outspoken attack on the UN cultural agency's record on Israel at the Board's monthly meeting in central London. Mr Regev spoke out ahead of commemorations to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's Six Day War

    Mark Regev, Israel's ambassador to Britain, has attacked the campaign by Unesco to brand his country an "occupier" as "historically illiterate, deeply offensive and fundamentally unjust."

    Speaking in central London on Sunday, to promote a joint Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council project to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, Mr Regev hit out at the UN cultural agency's record on Israel.

    He told the Board of Deputies monthly meeting: "In recent months one organisation has ratcheted-up the campaign to dismiss the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and to delegitimise Israel's sovereignty 

    "I speak of course of Unesco.

     "In November Unesco referred to Israel as an occupier in our people's spiritual, historic and cultural capital.

    "In doing so they denied the 3000-year-long connection between the Jewish people and our holy sites in Jerusalem.

    "And earlier they said again that the Jewish state was somehow an occupier in our peoples most cherished city.

    "We call Unesco's campaign out for what it really is. Historically illiterate, deeply offensive and fundamentally unjust."

    Earlier this month a Unesco ruling backed by 22 countries claimed Jerusalem is "occupied" and that Israel's rule over it is "null and void".

    Britain, Germany and the US had voted against the ruling.

    Mr Regev spoke of two separate polls of Israeli Arabs living in Jerusalem.

    The results of both showed that the East Jerusalem residing people voted by a majority to continue living under Israeli rule rather than under a future Palestinian run authority.

    Dr Itzik Yifit - one of the first Israeli soldiers to arrive at the Western Wall followings its liberation in 1967 - also spoke at the meeting.

    The former paratrooper told a story of how he got toothache just before the liberation of the city.

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