UNESCO’s Offensive Resolution
As you may have heard, last week UNESCO passed an offensive resolution which disregards Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The decision has been widely condemned, including by UNESCO’s director-general.1 It undermines Palestinians and Israelis who are working together for a peaceful future, and serves as a call to arms for the extreme wings in each society.2
I wanted to share with you a statement from our grantee, “Emek Shaveh - Archaeologists for Human Rights”, condemning UNESCO’s resolution:
A political solution for Jerusalem can only be successful if it is founded on respect for the complex heritage of each and every site in the Historic Basin. One-sided moves (physical or declarative) from both sides will score a few points internally but they keep us all from accepting each other.
The staff at Emek Shaveh are experts in their field, and we’re proud to be part of their work to build bridges and strengthen bonds between peoples and cultures.
B’Tselem’s Presentation to the UN Security Council
We’re also proud of the work of other NIF grantees. In a presentation to the UN Security Council last week, Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of B’Tselem, said3:
Israel is a sovereign country established through international legitimacy granted through a historic decision by this very institution in 1947. I am a citizen of that country. It is my homeland. For most of my country’s existence, the world has allowed it to occupy another people. I have lived my entire life, every single day of it, with that reality. Millions of Israelis and Palestinians know no other reality. We need your help. Fifty years of “temporary” occupation are too long for even a single person on this planet to accept such a contradiction in terms. The rights of Palestinians must be realized; the occupation must end; the UN Security Council must act; and the time is now.
Israeli security experts agree. They oppose the Occupation because Israel will be more secure with internationally recognised borders and a Palestinian state next door.4
Unfortunately, some politicians in Israel used Hagai’s speech to attack Israel’s human rights community. As part of that community, B’Tselem is the aspect of Israel that we want to share with the world – the one that works tirelessly for equality, democracy and justice.
There is no denying that the United Nations has its faults, most recently seen with the shameful UNESCO decision.
However, overall, the Security Council has protected Israel and its security. A resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will come only with the backing of the United States, the United Nations Security Council and European Union.
The more the US, the UNSC and the EU understand about the realities on the ground – how the conflict is affecting Israelis and Palestinians alike – the better informed they will be to work out a solution that respects the rights and security of both peoples.
Here are some resources where you can learn more:
- Haaretz editorial: “It Was B’Tselem’s Duty to Go to the UN”
- Op-ed by Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of B’Tselem: “Why I Spoke Against the Occupation at the UN”
- Op-ed by Daniel Sokatch, NIF US CEO: “Israel's Human Rights Defenders Won't Be Intimidated or Silenced - Even by Their Own Prime Minister”
All the best,
 UNESCO chief pans her member states on anti-Israel Jerusalem resolution - Times of Israel
 Hamas calls UNESCO vote on Jerusalem ‘victory’ for Palestinians - Times of Israel
 Hagai El-Ad's address in a special discussion about settlements at the United Nations Security Council
 Why so many of Israel's security hawks have become doves - Al-Monitor