Israel cancels UNESCO mission to Jerusalem 22May13 May 22, 2013

MEMO-Middle East Monitor    -    20 May 2013

unescoIsraeli authorities announced on Monday that they had cancelled the UNESCO mission due to visit the old city of Jerusalem because the Palestinian Authority had failed to keep the mission away from politics, media sources reported.

Israeli radio, broadcasting in Hebrew, reported from sources in the Israeli foreign ministry that the decision was taken after the Palestinian side retracted previous pledges that the issue was not to be politicised.

“They drew a picture of the UNESCO mission as if it was an international investigation committee,” Israeli foreign ministry sources said.

“Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Maliki, recently said they considered the mission a “commission of inquiry,” the sources said, and that they “would discuss political issues with the mission.”

According to the Telegraph, the Israeli official said that the Palestinians are also pushing for the delegation to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque, “which is revered as Judaism’s most sacred place.”

Israel agreed on the UNESCO mission, which was due to visit the Holy city today [Monday], in exchange for the Palestinian Authority and the Arabic group withdrawing draft resolutions to be filed with the international organisation.

Last month, Israeli radio revealed a Palestinian-Jordanian agreement with Israel to withdraw the resolution in exchange for Israel granting permission to the UNESCO delegation. The agreement was brokered by the US.

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