United Nations culture agency adopts al-Aqsa resolution condemned by Israel

The UN body also on Tuesday adopted a separate, less controversial resolution on schools in Palestinian territories.

The resolution slammed the Tel Aviv regime for hampering Muslims' freedom of worship by "escalating aggression and illegal measures" regarding the holy site, Press TV reported. "Words are important, but they are not a replacement to the actions of the organisation she heads", he said.

On Monday, Mexico changed its vote from "in favor" to abstain, saying in a statement" "Changing the vote reiterates the recognition that the government of Mexico gives to the undeniable link of the Jewish people to cultural heritage located in East Jerusalem.

It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico's economic, social and cultural development.

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All resolutions passed at this year's General Conference were set to be validated by the UNESCO Executive Board in a blanket vote on Tuesday.

Mexico has fired its ambassador to UNESCO, Andre Roemer, who is Jewish, for protesting against his country's decision to vote for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The ambassador, who is Jewish, then reportedly mulled resigning his post.

However, Mr Bennett said Ms Bokova's statement was insufficient.

"Mexico has taken a full step toward abandoning support of the Palestinians, after years of voting without hesitation against Israel", Sharma-Hacohen said. "Along with the shift of position of key countries such as India and Argentina to abstention, the vote constitutes a significant achievement".

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"We need more time and dialogue between the members of the board to reach a consensus", he said.

Japan provided almost 9.6 percent of the operating budget and considering that the United States cut off its share after Palestine was permitted to join, 22 percent in 2011, the total shortage represents almost one-third of the budget. Even though the new vote is expected to be approved by a large majority, it may still allow countries to revisit their vote.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, insisted that UNESCO's omission of the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem constitutes a "war on Jewish history". It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state, a move never recognised by the global community.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said she intends "to fight intolerance and contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, including those which seek to delegitimize the State of Israel". A draft form of the resolution had already been approved by a commission last week. For instance, the Palestinians have accused the Israelis of destroying their history at the site, the UNESCO resolution claiming that Israel "demolished" and removed Islamic-period remains.

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Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material.


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