Monday, 21 August 2017

Czech parliament denies UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem

ČTK |
24 May 2017

Prague, May 23 (CTK) - The Chamber of Deputies today rejected a new UNESCO resolution, saying it denies Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, and called on the Czech government to stop sending financial contributions to UNESCO.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) passed the resolution three weeks ago.

Chamber of Deputies deputy chairman Jan Bartosek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said the resolution "confirms a permanent, biased and hostile stance of UNESCO on one of its member states as well as an unacceptable politisation of this organisation."

The Czech contribution to UNESCO is about 30 million crowns this year. The Chamber approved the appeal to the government for not sending the money at a second try on the proposal of the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS).

"The only possible sanction against this organisation is that we stop supporting it financially," ODS MP Jana Cernochova said. The contributions should not be paid unless UNESCO gives up its hostile stance on Israel, she said.

MP Daniel Korte (opposition TOP 09) said UNESCO deals with Jerusalem rather than with the destruction of heritage by the Islamic State organisation. He criticised UNESCO for not protesting against Arabs who damaged Jewish heritage sites.

The Chamber said the Czech government should advocate a position respecting Jerusalem as the Israeli capital city and impede steps that distort historical facts and are motivated by a hatel anti-Israeli spirit.

In the new resolution, UNESCO criticises Israel for excavations in East Jerusalem and it considers them a violation of international law. Israel has occupied this part of the city since 1967 and annexed it in 1980. Agreements from the 1990s expected East Jerusalem to be the capital of the Palestinian state.

Last October, the Chamber of Deputies denounced the UNESCO resolution on cultural heritage in East Jerusalem that was proposed by Arab countries. It said this resolution ignored the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The resolution used only Arab names for the sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

($1=23.557 crowns)

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