UNESCO votes to condemn Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem

The UNESCO resolution, tabled by several Arab countries and approved on Tuesday, calls on Israel, as the "occupying Power", to cease "persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in east Jerusalem", which the Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state.

The Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, wrote on Twitter "Israel is angered by Sweden's vote in favour of the draft resolution". "This is a vote against Israel, part of a systematic voting pattern", Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.

The resolution also said Israel should remove its blockade of the Gaza Strip because it "harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items. We will face all the campaigns of distortion and destruction led by the Israeli occupation authority, armed with global law and the will of our Palestinian people who are capable of creating a future free from occupation", he said.

"Yesterday, UNESCO again passed a ludicrous resolution regarding Israel's status in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years", Netanyahu said Wednesday at the weekly cabinet meeting. Israeli authorities have criticized the resolution and refused to abide by its provisions.

It particularly criticized Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem after occupying it in 1967, a move never recognized by the global community.

The UN resolution on "Occupied Palestine" was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan.

Tuesday's resolution, passed on the day that Israel was celebrating its independence, calls on Israel to rescind any "legislative and administrative measures and actions" it has taken to "alter the character and status" of Jerusalem.

"There is no other people for whom Jerusalem is as holy and important as it is for the Jewish people", he said in a statement, accusing Unesco of "denying that simple truth". "Today there are more countries that support Israel or abstain than countries that oppose Israel". Senior officials in Jerusalem said that United Nations member states that have accumulated debt for not paying their membership fees may find themselves denied the right to vote in some United Nations institutions.

Netanyahu referred to the pro-Israel votes as "one point of light".

The statement referenced negotiations held by the EU with the Palestinians and Jordanians to water down the text, and said that Sweden was willing to make concessions to other EU partners in order to reach a united EU position on the matters.

However, Netanyahu noted that more countries than usual were opposed to the UNESCO resolution: "More countries opposed this resolution than past year and fewer countries supported it".

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