JERUSALEM (May. 13)
Israeli officials are considering how to respond to the decision by UNESCO Friday to appoint a representative to visit Jerusalem to investigate and report on changes made by Israel in the character of the Old City. The UNESCO move was instigated by Arab pressure in connection with Israeli archaeological excavations in East Jerusalem.
Informed sources said the issue would be taken up by the Cabinet when Foreign Minister Abba Eban returns from his current visit to the U.S. According to the sources, Israel’s attitude will depend to some extent on the person appointed by UNESCO. If the person has a cultural background and is from a nation friendly with Israel he is likely to receive a warmer welcome than someone without those qualifications, the sources said.
The UNESCO decision followed a recent visit here by its director general Rene Maheu who reported back to the UNESCO Executive in Paris. Maheu came here from Jordan where he heard complaints about Israel’s archaeological digs. He toured the sites and met with top Cabinet ministers.