Palestinians slam Israel blocking UNESCO mission

JERUSALEM- The Palestinian foreign ministry on Thursday slammed Israel for having called off a United Nations investigative mission to Jerusalem's Old City, calling it an act of "contempt of international law and institutions."
The ministry said it "condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of Israel, the occupying power, to prevent the technical mission of UNESCO from carrying its monitoring mission in the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls."

Palestinians slam Israel blocking UNESCO mission
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was scheduled earlier this month to assess the state of the Old City of Jerusalem, the first such monitoring mission since 2004, following pressure from Jordan and the Palestinians, who became members of the organisation in 2011.
But ahead of the start of the delegation's work, Israel called it off, claiming the Palestinians were trying to "politicise" it contrary to understandings reached by the sides, and to change the action plan UNESCO decided upon in 2010.
Israel's decision was "yet another manifestation of its contempt of international law and institutions that represent it, as well as to the states sponsoring this consensus," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Palestinians called on UNESCO to "proceed with the mandate of the mission" and not allow Israel to "impede the work" of the United Nations body, the statement read.
Cultural and religious heritage is a highly politicised issue for Israel and the Palestinians.
In March, the Palestinian Authority confirmed a verbal agreement dating back to 1924 giving Jordan custodianship over Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Friday, May 31st 2013

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