Global Affairs

Palestinian Media Boast About New UNESCO Mission to Jerusalem

English-language Palestinian media reported on Thursday that the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had voted to dispatch an expert mission to Jerusalem:

Palestine and Jordan, thanks to support from Arab and Islamic groups, successfully passed Thursday a UNESCO Executive Board resolution to send an expert mission to Jerusalem.

The expert mission is tasked with evaluating the situation of maintenance of the Old City of Jerusalem’s heritage and is required to submit a report along with recommendations to the World Heritage Committee slated to be convened in late June in Doha.

The mission will be charged with investigating Israeli oversight of the key religious areas of Jerusalem. ”

The Palestinians and Jordan also reportedly “issued several resolutions through the Executive Board and World Heritage Committee” targeting the Jewish state, including – in what might be considered something of a punchline – a resolution condemning Israel for suggesting that UNESCO had become politicized against Israel. 

Last week’s vote is the latest in a serious of anti-Israel diplomatic moves that the UN body has launched since the Palestinians joined it in 2011.

A previous UNESCO session in late 2013 had seen the passage of six resolutions targeting Jerusalem. Concerns over UNESCO were in turn grounded in broader unease over what appeared to be a systematic “scorched earth” campaign, under which Palestinian officials worked their way through credible international organizations and – by transforming them into anti-Israel forums – undermined their legitimacy.

The ultimately successful effort to join UNESCO triggered an American backlash that crippled the organization financially, while consistent and somewhat outlandish efforts to focus the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Israel have been devastating to that body’s credibility.

The Palestinians are currently in the midst of an effort to ascend to 15 international treaties.

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