Israel Again Condemned by UNESCO

A UNESCO resolution formally condemning Israel for archaeological excavations in Jerusalem and demanding that they be immediately ended received less than the” hoped-fore-number of votes from the UNESCO conference meeting in Nairobi. With a number of African countries balking at the resolution, the vote Friday was 61-19 with 16 abstentions.

Several members of the African group reportedly withheld their votes deliberately in the conference session, after voting for the resolution in a commission session, to soften the force of the condemnation and maintain the conference’s conciliatory tone. The vote Friday was considerably less anti-Israel than the earlier one which was 70-25 with 14 abstentions.

Robert Kamm, the United States delegate, who voted against the resolution on Friday, said he was disappointed and perplexed that member states believed that UNESCO could accomplish its goal of promoting peace and understanding through retribution and coercion. The resolution also called for financial sanctions against Israel which would mean the withholding of $25,000 every two years. Conference sources noted that Israel would not have received the money because it has not paid its 1975-76 contributions.

Earlier in the week, Israel was admitted as a member of the UNESCO European regional group. In view of that action, the U.S. may now release some $38 million which it decided to withhold from UNESCO when Israel’s application to the group was voted down two years ago.

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