Despite loss, Israel's UNESCO envoy calls vote a 'great achievement'

UNESCO - the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - passed a resolution called "Occupied Palestine" by a vote of 22-10, with 26 countries abstaining or absent, on Tuesday.

The UNESCO resolution referred to the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City only by its Muslim name, Al-Aqsa or Al-Haram al-Sharif.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the resolution as "absurd" but said the vote is a sign that more countries are being supportive of the Jewish state in global forums, according to the Times of Israel.

The UNESCO resolution further ignores that the Temple Mount and Western Wall - the holiest sites in Judaism - are located in eastern Jerusalem, which is steeped in Jewish history.

It particularly criticised Israel's annexation of Jerusalem following its occupation of the city's east in 1967, a move never recognised by the global community. And while Italy has announced it will vote against it, there is a long way to go in order to convince the others because - as the Jerusalem Post reports - the text "is less egregious by Israeli standards than past documents".

The agency has frequently been used as a theater for political disputes between Israel and Arab nations.




The draft resolution now states that "any action taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the city of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever".

Netanyahu said Tuesday's resolution marked an "improvement in the march of absurdity" as it mentions the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

While Israel has long pressed nations to move their embassies to Jerusalem, which both the Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital, nations have largely resisted taking the step out of fears it could undermine the peace process and lead to violence in the region.

The White House has said that the United States will continue talks with Israel about its settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territory.

Israeli troops shot dead a 19-year-old man on Tuesday who ran at them with a knife at a Jerusalem area checkpoint often used by Palestinians, later discovering he had apparently wanted to kill himself.

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