UNESCO to Discuss Israeli Ban on Mission

RAMALLAH, May 21, 2013 (WAFA) – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is going to meet on Wednesday in Paris to discuss Israel’s refusal to allow a fact finding mission into the country to look into complaints of changes to the historic character of East Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said Tuesday.

The mission was supposed to arrive in Jerusalem on Monday where it was supposed to spend five days looking into various charges of changes to the historic and cultural character of the occupied city.

Speaking on Voice of Palestine radio, Malki said that Israel used false pretexts to justify its decision not to allow the mission into the country, such as the claim that the mission’s work was political.

“We will not accept such claims,” he said, explaining that the Palestinian Authority asked UNESCO to take a stand from this sudden change in the Israeli position and therefore a meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday with the participation of the Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli delegations.

Malki said he expects the meeting to agree on a new date for the arrival of the mission in Jerusalem, adding that international pressure on Israel is going to force it to allow the UNESCO team to do its work.

Israel had agreed for the arrival of the mission in a deal brokered by the Russian delegation to UNESCO in which the Palestinians would postpone discussion of five resolutions that would have condemned Israel for the changes it has introduced to the city since its occupation in 1967.

Malki stressed that the Palestinian Authority had agreed to postpone a vote on these resolutions awaiting results of the UNESCO mission but not to scrap them.

Source: WAFA News