Netanyahu confirms Israel to withdraw from UNESCO

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French Jews hold Israeli flags as they take part at a demonstration against recent votes in Unesco regarding Jerusalem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, near the Unesco Headquarters in Paris, France, July 17, 2017. (Photo: Serge Attal/Flash90)

In his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed that Israel would follow the United States and withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, at the end of 2018.

The prime minister confirmed over the weekend that he instructed Israel’s Foreign Ministry “to withdraw from UNESCO,” stating Sunday “I think that this is appropriate, given this organization’s biased, one-sided and absurd attitude toward us, and against the background of the US’s strong stand at the UN, which we welcome.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also addressed Abbas’s announcement on Friday that the United States was a “dishonest mediator in the peace process”. Netanyahu stated Sunday “He [Abbas] declared that he is quitting the process and, in effect, is not interested in any proposal that the US might submit. I think that once again it is becoming clear: It is the Palestinians who do not want to resolve this conflict.”

Netanyahu added “The US has said something else that is very important: The root of the general conflict in the Middle East does not lie in Israel, but in Iran and in radical Islam and the terrorism that it inspires. All of these are the true reasons that have been revealed to everyone. Whoever sees clearly and has integrity cannot deny them.”

The U.S. State Department confirmed the United States’ withdrawal from UNESCO in October of this year after the organization adopted several resolutions denying Jewish and Israeli heritage to religious sites in Israel, mainly Jerusalem. It announced it would remain a “non-member state” as to in “contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris Friday, their meeting part of the Palestinian’s efforts to find a new peace broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as lobby support against Israel and the United States.

Abbas again announced on Friday that “The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from it,” and claimed that the Palestinians have “trust” in France and that “We respect the efforts made by you and we count heavily on your efforts.”

On President Trump’s announcement that American aid would be cut from countries that vote for the resolution against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Abbas stated he “hoped that the others will learn the lesson and understand that you cannot impose solutions by using money and trying to buy off countries.”

Macron stated that France would not make a unilateral decision on a future Palestinian state without approval of the European Union, criticizing the United States for its decision on Jerusalem stating, “The American mistake was to want to unilaterally manage from afar a situation whose solution is in the hands of the Israelis and Palestinians… The Americans have marginalized themselves and I am trying to not do the same thing.”

Last week, Abbas sent two Palestinian Authority delegations to China and Russia in efforts to find a “new international sponsor for the peace process”, the PA confirming “The two delegations will convey a message from President Abbas to Russia and China, the purpose of which is to find a new international sponsor for the peace process, in the framework of the United Nations, in order to replace the American sponsorship.”

Around the same time, Russia offered to replace the United States as an “honest mediator” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Vladimir Safronkov, made the offer following the United Nations Security Council vote on Jerusalem on Monday. According to Russian media, he stated “We [Russia] are ready to become an honest mediator here.”

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, December 24, 2017, and reposted with permission.