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UNESCO Commission in a 54-21 Vote Recommends Halt in Aid to Israel

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The UNESCO Commission for Social Sciences, Humanities and Culture voted tonight to invite the Director General “to withhold assistance from Israel in the fields of education, science and culture.” The vote was 54 in favor-21 against, with 25 abstentions.

The resolution is only a recommendation. It will go before the UNESCO General Conference due to meet next week. According to observers, however, it is virtually certain to be adopted. Technically, the resolution does not mean a financial loss for Israel. Israel contributes to UNESCO in the amount of $220,000 and only receives services estimated at $20,000. But it is a serious political and diplomatic blow, according to most observers here.

Israel diplomatic circles said the vote was “very serious,” but that it did not mean that Israel will withdraw from other UNESCO activities and it cannot and should not be considered an expulsion.

U.S. A TRAGIC STEP’

After the vote, the United States delegation described the adoption of the resolution as a “tragic step” and said that It would not help protect the holy sites but would only strike a blow at UNESCO’s reputation.

A number of Latin American and West European countries voted against various paragraphs in the resolution and supported various amendments, such as one by Costa Rica, which tried to moderate its tone. At the request of the Spanish representative the resolution sponsors agreed to delete the word “hypocrisy” which referred to Israel’s acts. Spain voted in favor of the resolution.

France, which had earlier proposed the creation of the working committee to draft a compromise resolution, voted against the resolution, to the surprise of most Arab and Communist representatives.

RESOLUTION CONDEMNS ISRAEL

The resolution “condemns Israel for its attitude which is contradictory to the aims of the organization as stated in its constitution by persistent alteration of the historical features of the city of Jerusalem and by undertaking excavation which constituted a danger to its monuments, subsequent to its illegal occupation of the city.” The resolution “invites the Director General to withhold assistance to Israel in the fields of education, science and culture until such time as It scrupulously respects the aforementioned resolution and decision.”

At today’s session the representatives of the PLO the first tune addressed an international forum within the UN framework. The PLO delegate, Ahmad Jamil, called on the conference to support the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and brand the illegal occupation of the city (Jerusalem) by the armed forces of aggression.”

The conference was also addressed by the representatives of the World Jewish Congress and of the B’nal B’rith who stressed the facilities available to all religions under the present system which has brought about the unification of Jerusalem.

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