RAMALLAH (Rahnuma): The Palestinian Authority (PA) government said Thursday that the Israeli decision to withdraw from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an attempt “to evade from its responsibilities to implement UNESCO resolutions towards Jerusalem and Alaqsa mosque.”
“Israel’s withdrawal from the UNESCO must not mean that it is exempt of its obligations under UNESCO resolutions and its cooperation with its committees,” the government said in a press statement following its weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah city.
“Jerusalem is subject to escalating schemes against it, especially after the UNESCO resolutions that came to serve justice to the Palestinian inalienable rights,” said the statement, slamming the current “excavation works underneath Alaqsa mosque and in Silwan by settler groups and Israeli authorities.”
The statement urged the UNESCO to investigate the Israeli “attacks” against Jerusalem’s history, including the holy Muslim site Alaqsa mosque, the old city and its gates and to expose the plans of the underground tunnels and their possible consequences.
Israel declared last Tuesday that it has withdrawn from the UN organization, alongside the U.S., accusing it of working against it.
The U.S. declared it was going to withdraw from UNESCO last October, a year after the organization adopted a resolution that states that the Islamic and Christian sites in the old city of Jerusalem have nothing to do with Jewish heritage. Israel immediately said it will boycott the UNESCO in response.
Palestine has been accepted as a full member of the UNESCO since November 2011 with the support of 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, while Israel wants all Jerusalem to be its eternal capital.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and declared the whole city as its eternal indivisible capital in 1980, but the move has not been recognized by the international community.