After Vote on Jerusalem, Israel Poses Conditions for UNESCO Rapprochement

Netanyahu recalled ambassador to UNESCO after it passed a slew of resolutions ignoring Judaism's ties with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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A file photo of ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen, 2013.
A file photo of ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen, 2013.Credit: Nir Keidar
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Israel's envoy to UNESCO, who was recalled after the organization passed a slew of anti-Israeli resolutions, will return to Paris in the coming days to present UNESCO's director general with Israel's conditions for putting relations with the organization back on track.

Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen and Yuval Rotem, the acting director general of the Foreign Ministry, to discuss additional steps regarding UNESCO.

The senior officials added that a series of meetings at Foreign Ministry headquarters, which dealt with the quality of Israel's future relationship with the organization, preceded the meeting with Netanyahu. The result of the meetings was a list of demands for steps UNESCO must take to restore good relations with Israel and to allow a renewal of cooperation between the sides.

Netanyahu, both prime minister and foreign minister, recalled Shama-Hacohen for consultations in Jerusalem two weeks ago as a sign of protest against a UNESCO resolution that ignored Judaism's historical ties to the Temple Mount. Ten countries voted for the measure, eight abstained, two voted against and one was absent. The decision, which Palestinians and Jordanians had pushed and was adopted by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, was softer compared to a resolution adopted by UNESCO's executive board two weeks earlier.

The senior official remarked that the return of Shama-Hacohen is "conditional" for a two to three week period. "If we don't receive a positive response to our demands, the ambassador will return to Israel," the senior official said. 

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