A Report by Dr. Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations and Permanent Observer to UNESCO

“To claim that these resolutions were passed by consensus in the absence of a key party is a travesty...”
“Perhaps an open ballot of the 58 voting states would be more useful to identify the righteous versus the intimidated, the bribed and the simply antisemitic.”

Paris, 11 April 2019

Two resolutions, item 32 and 33 – both submitted by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan – were passed today “by consensus without a vote” at the UNESCO Executive Board chaired by Madam Samira Moosa of Oman.

Resolution 32 on “Occupied Palestine,” in sub-item 1, deems the “basic law on Jerusalem... null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.” It calls on the Director-General “to appoint a permanent representative to be stationed in East Jerusalem.”

In sub-item 2 on Gaza, Israel is blamed for “the closure... which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief.”

In sub-item 3 on Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Al-Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, it claims “denial of freedom of movement and of access to places of worship” by Israel, including “its ban on access of Palestinian Christian and Muslim worshippers.” It closes with a demand: “… in case of non-implementation, to propose effective measures” at the next session of the Executive Board.

The second resolution on “Educational and Cultural Institutions in the Occupied Arab Territories,” submitted by the same Arab states, relates principally to UNESCO projects, spiced by such undiplomatic references to “Israeli army violations against Palestinian universities and schools,” demanding from UNESCO “that schools, universities and cultural heritage sites enjoy special protection...” and that “Israel, the occupying Power, cease [to] ... prevent Palestinian school children and students from exercising their full right to education;”... and notes deep concern on “the Israeli censorship of the Palestinian curricula of schools and universities...”

The document concludes with an invitation to UNESCO “to dispatch an expert... to the occupied Syrian Golan.”

The issues raised in these resolutions are designated “to seek further information from the State party, Israel” … to be reviewed at the next Executive Board meeting, in October.

Since Israel’s departure from UNESCO on 31 December 2018, the whole procedure is somewhat a one-sided game of slander behind the back of the maligned victim.

Nonetheless, the same slander was heard when Israel was in the room.

To claim that these resolutions were passed by consensus in the absence of a key party is a travesty. Perhaps an open ballot would be more useful to identify, among the 58 voting states, the righteous versus the intimidated, the bribed and the simply antisemitic.