Paris (Sep. 22)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned Israel for its continuation of archaeological excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem. The UNESCO executive committee voted 28-1 to condemn Israel for its “persistent and deliberate violations” of former UNESCO resolutions on this subject.
The United States was the only UNESCO member state to vote against the Arab-sponsored resolution. Among the countries that abstained were all those from Western Europe, Guatemala, Jamaica and Japan. Israel is not a member of the UNESCO executive committee.
The resolution, which was voted on after a two-day debate and which will now be presented to UNESCO’s general conference for ratification, said that “the excavations and transformations seriously threaten the historic and cultural sites of the city.”
It also claimed that the digs now in progress “have never reached such a pitch in intensity and growth as today.”
A UNESCO-linked body, the World Heritage Committee, voted earlier this month, to include the Old City of Jerusalem in the world list of sites which enjoy international, including Jordanian, protection and financial aid. Israel violently opposed the Jordanian-sponsored resolution but could not vote against it because it is not a committee member.