UNESCO Head 'Received Death Threats' over Stance on Jerusalem Resolution

Politics | October 18, 2016, Tuesday // 09:56|  views

File photo, BGNES

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has received "death threats' over her supposed reservations about a resolution that would only highlight holy sites in Jerusalem as Muslim and not Jewish.

"The director general has received death threats and her protection has had to be reinforced," Carmel Shama Cohen, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, has told Israeli public radio, according to AFP.

Bokova last week distanced herself from two resolutions that refer to Al-Aqsa mosque without any reference to its importance to Jews, who revere it as the Temple Mount.

The UN has not confirmed the death threat reports. 

They use the wording "Occupied Palestine" and the need to "safeguard the Palestinian cultural heritage and the distinctive character of east Jerusalem".

But the UNESCO chief says that “nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space and interweave to the point that they support each other.”

“The outstanding universal value of the City, and the reason why it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, lies in this synthesis, which is an appeal for dialogue, not confrontation," Bokova notes in her statement opposing the resolution, also using the names "Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount" to refer to the site of Al-Aqsa / Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

Earlier, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki accused Bokova of outstepping "the scope of her mandate by speaking out against a resolution adopted by the Executive Board of the organization."

The text prompted Israel to freeze cooperation with UNESCO on Friday.

A recast vote is due at UNESCO on Tuesday, however, after the Mexican government announced early that day it was willing to change its vote, saying it would now vote against the document. The country voted in favour of the resolution last week, but triggered a clause that enabled it to demand a new vote if it changed its mind.

Haaretz quotes as senior official in Jerusalem as saying the move was prompted by outrcy from the Jewish community of Mexico.

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Tags: UNESCO, Irina Bokova, Israel, Palestina, Al-Aqsa. Jerusalem


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