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Jnesco Conference Condemns Israel

November 28, 1978
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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference today adopted an Arab sponsored resolution condemning Israel for allegedly depriving Palestinian Arabs in the Israeli administered territories of their rights to culture and education. After the vote was taken confirming a resolution adopted in commission earlier this month, the Israeli delegate, Ambassador Amiel Najar, told the conference: “This has nothing to do with culture or education. It is part of the Arab political war against Israel.”

The conference, which voted 55-6 with 27abstaining also reintroduced the earlier 1974 and 1976 resolutions blaming Israel. It also called on the organization’s Director General, Amadou Mukhtar M’Bow, to send a UNESCO mission to investigate Israeli-sponsored educational and cultural facilities in the West Bank, Gaza and “occupied Jerusalem.”

The Israeli delegation had earlier said that Israel will not allow another UNESCO mission to investigate inside Israel and Israeli administered territories. The Israeli stand was upheld by the Canadian delegate, Yvon Beaulne, who said “the resolution is so harsh as to make it virtually impossible for Israel to carry out.”

The general conference is expected to approve tomorrow another Arab sponsored resolution accusing Israel of damaging the Arab character of Jerusalem and of carrying out “illegal” archaeological diggings.


M’Bow admitted to the conference today that he withheld a report of a previous mission sent to investigate educational conditions in Israel. He said the six-member mission returned with five reports and a covering letter from its chief, Paul Marc Henry. M’Bow said he did not release Henry’s letter because it was “mainly political,” adding:

“For two years UNESCO has been harangued and attacked for having become a political organization. The same people who attacked us then, attack us now because I did not submit a paper that had a definite political coloration. Political matters are for the United Nations not for UNESCO.” M’Bow concluded: “Never have I approached this matter from a political standpoint.”

The United States and most Western delegations had supported earlier Israeli accusations charging M’Bow with having edited pro-Israeli findings out of the report. These delegations privately said after the Director General’s speech that they were not satisfied with his explanations.

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