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Excerpt: "The United States and Israel announced on Thursday that they would both withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)."

People rally to support Palestine. (photo: AP)
People rally to support Palestine. (photo: AP)


US and Israel Withdraw From UN Heritage Body Over Palestine's Continued Inclusion

By Middle East Eye

12 October 17


US State Department says decision to quit Unesco reflects concern about 'mounting arrears, need for reform and continuing anti-Israel bias'

he United States and Israel announced on Thursday that they would both withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), with Washington accusing the body of "anti-Israel bias".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late on Thursday that Israel was preparing to pull out of UNESCO, hours after the US made a similar announcement.

The Israeli leader called the U.S. decision to exit Unesco "brave and moral", according to a statement.

The statement added that Netanyahu had instructed his Foreign Ministry to begin preparations for leaving the organisation as well.

Hours earlier US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington would establish an "observer mission" to replace its representation at the Paris-based agency.

The United States was angered in 2011 when Unesco members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel. Washington opposes any move by UN bodies to recognise the Palestinians as a state, believing that this must await a negotiated Middle East peace deal.

But the Trump administration is also reviewing many of its multilateral commitments, pursuing what he calls an "America First" foreign policy.

Nauert said the State Department had notified Unesco's outgoing director-general, Irina Bokova, of their decision earlier on Thursday.

"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco," she said.

"The United States indicated to the director-general its desire to remain engaged with Unesco as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organisation, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms and promoting scientific collaboration and education."

Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said the decision was the"price to pay for discrimination against Israel".

In July, the Palestinian representatives hailed a Unesco decision to label the heart of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron a protected heritage site - a move Israel called a "moral blot" due to the move giving defacto recognition to Palestinian soverignty of the city.

"This vote is a success for the diplomatic battle fought by Palestine on all fronts, in the face of Israeli and American pressure on member states," the Palestinian foreign ministry said.

Unesco's heritage committee voted 12 to three - with six abstentions - to give heritage status to the Old City in the centre of Hebron, where a few hundred Jewish settlers live under heavy Israeli military protection in the midst of more than 200,000 Palestinians.

"Despite a frantic Israeli campaign spreading lies and distorting the facts about the Palestinian rights, the world has recognised our right to register Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque under Palestinian sovereignty," the statement added.


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+14 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-10-12 13:38
"The Israeli leader called the U.S. decision to exit Unesco "brave and moral""


I call it shameful. Every day Israel grows worse and worse.
 
 
+1 # sean1303 2017-10-13 07:13
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
Every day Israel grows worse and worse.


Quote:
The United States was angered in 2011 when Unesco members granted Palestine full membership of the body, despite opposition from its ally Israel.
Let us stop condemning while people for the actions of their leaders. A majority of citizens of the US and Israel want to see all people treated fairly, it is their plutocratic permanent-war-e conomy leaders who stoke strife and division for their own benefit.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2017-10-13 18:40
You don't know that to be a fact. Since Netanyahu and his right wing gov't keeps getting election and since poll's have shown the majority of Israelis favor his hard line approach, it's safe to say that isn't true of the citizens of Israel and the citizens of the US are for the most part ignorant about what goes on there.
 
 
+10 # Moxa 2017-10-12 20:35
'Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said the decision was the"price to pay for discrimination against Israel".'

Israel was not excluded; Palestine was simply IN-cluded. How is that discrimination against Israel? On the contrary, Israel wants to exclude the Palestinians.
 
 
0 # Salburger 2017-10-14 03:33
The discrimination isn't the inclusion of Palestine, it is the continued designation of millennia old Jewish "holy" sites as Muslim sites--even though the Jews founded them and worshipped there more than a thousand years before the birth of Islam.
 
 
+5 # PABLO DIABLO 2017-10-12 23:50
BDS NOW. Give Netanyahu his day in front of The World Court.
 
 
+7 # ChrisCurrie 2017-10-13 08:13
The Israeli Government's treatment of Palestinians is morally depraved and a gross violation of international laws. For the US to support such misdeeds is LIKEWISE morally depraved!
 
 
+1 # jwb110 2017-10-13 08:27
There is still enough anti-Semitism in this country, there is a lot of anti-everything in the wake of top down White Supremacy, that this could backfire amongst the US and Israel governments making this choice. It smacks of a form of genocide to many people of all stripes. We have already had threats against Jewish community centers and Temples since the rise to power of the Bannon back Neo-White movement. Jewish son-in-law or not this could make the White House look like some sort of toady to the Jewish lobbies and power in Washington.
And in the long run what did the choice serve? Nothing but a lot of political saber rattling and bate and switch. One more step toward no peace in the middle east or better yet another, step toward Armageddon.
 
 
+2 # hectormaria 2017-10-13 09:18
The wall the "Fake-President " wants to build is not between the U.S. and Mexico, it is between the U.S. and the world.
 

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