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UNESCO: Jerusalem is Occupied, Israel Has No Sovereignty over City | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view of al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. (Reuters)

Ramallah – Amid a Palestinian applaud and an Israeli dismay, the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted on Tuesday on considering Jerusalem an occupied city.

The majority of the 58-member UNESCO Executive Board voted on a Palestinian-Arab draft resolution, which stated that Jerusalem’s Old City is “entirely Palestinian” and described Israel as an “occupying power” that has no sovereignty over the city.

The text of the resolution reaffirmed the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls to the three monotheistic religions.

It also affirmed the Islamic character of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) and Rachel’s Tomb in the city Bethlehem.

The resolution was backed by 22 countries. The United States, Germany, Italy and seven other board members voted against it.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki mocked the Israeli campaign launched against the resolution.

“We will defend our heritage and culture, our past and our future,” Malki said.

Instead, the UNESCO decision strongly angered Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We reject UNESCO,” claiming that “throughout Jewish history, Jerusalem was the heart of our nation.”

In a separate development, the Fatah Movement quickly commented on the Hamas movement’s new political platform that was announced on Monday and which accepted the idea of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 border.

As head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal was discussing some details of the new program at a hotel in Doha on Monday night, Fatah spokesperson Osama al-Qawasme said: “Hamas’s new document is identical to that adopted by Fatah in 1988. It took Hamas 30 years to come out with our same position,” by accepting the idea of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 border.

Al-Qawasme said Hamas is required to make an apology to Fatah “after 30 years of accusing us of treason for that policy.”