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US intervenes with Jordan and PA not to condemn Israel in UNESCO meeting

Israeli radio said on Wednesday that Israel has reached an agreement with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to cancel draft resolutions against it planned to be discussed in a UNESCO meeting today.

The agreement, the radio said, was mediated and brokered by the USA.


In return, Israel is going to allow a delegation of experts from UNESCO to carry out a tour around a number of archaeological sites in the Old City of Jerusalem in the middle of the next month.

A statement issued by the Jordanian Royal Palace on Tuesday said: “With the support of Arab countries for the first time since 2004, Jordan and Palestine succeeded to oblige Israel to allow a delegation of experts from UNESCO to examine historical and archaeological sites in Jerusalem.”

The delegation, the statement said, would start its examination work on May 19, 2013. “It has to submit the outcomes and recommendations of its examination tour before the UNESCO meeting scheduled in the beginning of June 2013,” the statement said.

The Jordanian statement said that the agreement to send an examination mission to Jerusalem is considered the first “achievement” after the agreement signed between Jordan’s King Abdullah II and PA president Mahmoud Abbas last month.

The UNESCO draft resolutions against Israel condemn it for violations against the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic archaeological sites in Jerusalem. Israel is accused by several sites of working on eliminating Palestinian, Arab and Islamic heritage in Jerusalem.

Destruction works of old building facades, old alleyways, gates and bridges in Jerusalem have been carried out since 1967, when Israel occupied Jerusalem.

Recently, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage said in a statement that Israel had accelerated digging and destruction around the Al-Magharbeh Gate, which is an essential part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib told MEMO that the Israeli occupation is working to Judaise the whole area around Al-Magharbeh Gate. The recent construction works, including expansion of Al-Buraq plaza (Wailng Wall plaza), Al-Khatib said, are taking over all the remaining area that is left for Muslims.

“It touches Al-Buraq Mosque,” he said.

Israel also announced that it intends to attend a UNESCO meeting in Paris next month. It will discuss the issue of Al-Magharbeh Gate, which is one of the historical gates leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The US and Israel stopped their financial support for UNESCO in wake of their giving the PA full membership in the international organisation in October 2011. The US pays around 22 per cent of the UNESCO budget.

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