As Israel celebrates 69 years of independence, UNESCO to vote on Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem

Crowds in the Old City of Jerusalem during the celebration of 40 years since Jerusalem's unification, May 16, 2007. (Maya Levin/Flash90)

As Israel celebrates 69 years of independence Tuesday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is scheduled to vote on a resolution rejecting Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The 58-member UNESCO board announced it would vote on the newest anti-Israel resolution on Israel’s Independence Day over the weekend, Prime Minister Netanyahu instructing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to combat the efforts, the prime minister himself making several calls to European officials Monday.

Israel has been lobbying efforts, particularly with European Union states, to combat the newest anti-Israel effort at the United Nations. UNESCO has passed 18 resolutions against the State of Israel to date.

The resolution was submitted by Arab member states on behalf of the Palestinians and claims 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.” The Palestinians efforts come just as a day before Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas is to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington.

A copy of the “draft decision” was released to the public, the documents referring to Israel as the “Occupying Power”. The resolution claims Israel’s construction and excavations of holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron as illegal, as well as criticizes Israel for closing border crossings into the Gaza Strip, as well as deploring “military confrontations in around and the Gaza Strip” with no mention of terrorism.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely slammed the UNESCO resolution on Monday, referring to “fake news” and condemning the organization for subverting international institutions in order to attack Israel.

She stated “UNESCO will be voting against Israel’s right to sovereignty in its capital city, Jerusalem. This is absurd. We have become used to the concept of ‘fake news’. Well, welcome to ‘fake history…as Israelis, [we] don’t need UNESCO’s approval of our history in our land. However, for the countries voting tomorrow, I must say in the clearest terms: if you cherish history and affirm UNESCO’s duty to respect historical truth, there is no choice other than to vote against this latest attempt to subvert international institutions in order to attack Israel.”

7 months ago, UNESCO passed two anti-Israel resolutions, denying Jewish history in Jerusalem. The first resolution passed, a proposal submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Sudan in 2015, passed, the resolution claiming the Temple Mount, the most significant and important religious site for Jews, is only sacred to Muslims. One week later, the organization voted in the “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls”.

In June of 2016, UNESCO voted that the Temple Mount would be referred to as “Al-Aqsa” in all official documents and official reference. Just a few weeks later, UNESCO voted to return the holy site to the “historical status quo” before the 1967 war.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, May 2, 2017, and reposted with permission.