UNESCO to postpone vote on upcoming Israel resolutions

For the first time in years, the United Nations’ cultural arm will likely not pass any anti-Israel resolutions at its major summit this week, in what would amount to a significant diplomatic victory for Jerusalem.

As they have done a number of times annually in past years, several Arab nations in the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation drafted two resolutions condemning Israel for various actions in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and elsewhere.

But as a result of intense Israeli and American lobbying, no such texts will be voted on during UNESCO’s 202nd Executive Board meeting, which started on Monday in Paris.

Instead, two resolutions pushing off the aforementioned proposals for six months are expected to be passed unanimously.

The chairman of the Executive Board, German diplomat Michael Worbs, is set to propose the body include Resolutions 202 EX/39 and 202 EX/38 in its agenda for its next session, which is scheduled for April 2018.

The resolutions postponing the two anti-Israel texts is set to be voted on Wednesday.

“The resolutions are expected to pass unanimously — unless a country breaks its commitment in the last moment,” Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, told The Times of Israel on Saturday.

He said Israel had not offered the countries any quid-pro-quo to vote in favour of delaying the resolutions.

While the anti-Israel resolutions will only be delayed, Israel views the development as a “significant step toward the total elimination” of such proposals, he said.

“Time will tell if this is a tactical change or a change of approach and significant progress toward clearing the organisation of incitement and politicization against us,” Shama-Hacohen said.

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