Israel Resumes Payments to UNESCO

Israel decided yesterday to resume payments to the annual budget of UNESCO, according to an official Cabinet announcement. The decision was approved by the Cabinet following a proposal by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan that Israel pay $374,000 which represents its debts to UNESCO for the last two years.

Israel suspended payments three years ago after UNESCO adopted an anti-Israel resolution which barred it from the activities of UNESCO’s European regional group. This followed allegations by Arab delegates that Israel was engaged in archaeological work which was altering the features of Jerusalem.

Israel was readmitted in November, 1976 after international protests and a decision by the United States to suspend contributions to UNESCO’s budget. The U.S. resumed payments last year. Dayan’s own proposal to resume payments was based on the fact that UNESCO has refrained from passing anti-Israel resolutions in the past period.

By paying its debts Israel will be ensured of participation, with full voting rights, in the next UNESCO conference in Paris next autumn. Arab efforts to mobilize support for a resolution to be presented at the conference which condemn Israel as “racist” have so far failed. Meanwhile it was reported that UNESCO is due to publish a report on Israeli educational activities on the West Bank. A UNESCO delegation visited the West Bank last year to study this situation and Israel cooperated fully with them during their tour.

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