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Israel to withdraw from UNESCO along with United States

The decision came hours after an identical move from the White House.

Tel Aviv has issued a statement saying that along with the United States, it will withdraw its membership of of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN’s body which helps to preserve and educate young generations about important cultural heritage sites and artefacts throughout the world.

In a statement, the Israeli regime said the following regarding its decision,

“Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomes  President Trump’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO, and instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation alongside the United States”.

Heavy handed criticism of UNESCO was a prominent feature of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech before the UN General Assembly.

As The Duran reported earlier in respect of Washington’s withdrawal from UNESCO,

“The United States has formally withdrawn its membership of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN’s body which helps to preserve and educate young generations about important cultural heritage sites and artefacts throughout the world.

The US stopped funding UNESCO’s cultural initiatives in 2011, after UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member. This marks the second time that the US has withdrawn from the body. The first US withdrawal came in 1983 when the Reagan administration cited an ‘anti-western’ and ‘anti-Israel’ bias in the group.

The US has been unique in its desire to base its position towards UNESCO on Israeli statements, as UNESCO is known to be an apolitical body whose only concern is preserving historical sites and allowing ease of access to them, under the motto, “building peace in the minds of men and women”.

While the US rejoined UNESCO under the George W. Bush administration, under Trump it is out again. The most recent withdrawal comes weeks after Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu slammed UNESCO during his speech to the UN General Assembly for using the word Palestine to describe an ancient Levantine historical site.

Netanyahu sarcastically stated,

‘So is there no limit to the UN’s absurdities when it comes to Israel? Well, apparently not. Because in July, UNESCO declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site. That’s worse than fake news; that’s fake history. Mind you, it’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so, too, are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah’s a Jewish name, by the way – Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, who just happened to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. Well, you won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report, but if you want to, you can read about it in a somewhat weightier publication. It’s called ‘the Bible.’ I highly recommend it. I hear it even got four and a half out of five stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week’.

The Israeli regime has also complained publicly that UNESCO recommended Israel remove its fortress like barricades from the Noble Sanctuary. This summer, Tel Aviv shut Muslim worshippers out of the Noble Sanctuary in a move that was widely condemned by Palestinian groups and the wider international community. The barricades have since been replaced by electronic espionage equipment.

The broadly apolitical issue of allowing the freedom of worship at holy sites has been wilfully politicised by Tel Aviv and now, the United States has followed suit in withdrawing both its funding and its membership of UNESCO.

The US released the following short statement commenting on the decision to withdraw from UNESCO:

The United States has withdrawn from UNESCO

These latest moves indicate the close relationship between the leadership in Washington and Tel Aviv. Israel has long been a lone voice of criticism in respect of the JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal). Many expect that after joining with Israel in condemning the JCPOA, the US may withdraw from the agreement against the wishes of China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the EU as a whole, all of whom worked to secure the deal in 2015, along with Barack Obama’s White House.

Today’s move indicates a willingness of Washington and Tel Aviv to work in concert over such matters.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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