The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Foreign Minister Riyad Malki today welcomed UNESCO’s Executive Committee adoption of two resolutions on Palestine, calling on the cultural organization to take a proactive role in defending Palestinian heritage from Israeli attacks.
“We welcome the adoption of two resolutions by the Executive Committee of the UNESCO on the need to preserve educational and cultural institutions in Palestine as well as protect heritage sites in occupied Jerusalem, Hebron and other Palestinian cities,” said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee. “These resolutions reiterate UNESCO’s role and mandate and reaffirm the need to confront the dangerous and illegal actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, against these heritage sites.”
Nevertheless, said Ashrawi, “a more proactive role is needed from UNESCO, in line with its mandate.”
“In light of the escalating and illegal Israeli actions against Palestinian heritage sites in Jerusalem, Hebron, and the Battir Terraces in the Bethlehem District, including Israel’s illegal annexation plans that specifically target historical and archeological sites in Palestine, we expect more from UNESCO and the Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay. In particular, UNESCO needs to engage proactively in defending Palestinian heritage sites inscribed as world heritage at the UNESCO and to be a vocal advocate for the cultural and educational rights of the Palestinian people, which are under systemic attack by Israel,” she said.
“We call on Ms. Azoulay to use the standing and influence of her office to carry out her mandate in Palestine. Silence in the face of the ongoing Israeli assault against Palestinian heritage, narrative, and history runs contrary to the mandate and principles of UNESCO,” stressed the PLO official.
Foreign Minister Riyad Malki also welcomed the adoption of the resolutions, one on occupied Palestine and the second on cultural and educational institutions.
He said the vote and consensus on the resolutions come at the height of the battle led by the Palestinian leadership against the illegal Israeli annexation plan, which is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to implement its belligerent policies, which are contrary to international law and the UNESCO principles and resolutions.
He stressed the need for countries to turn their words into actions to stop Israeli public theft and falsification of Palestinian heritage and history with the support of the current American administration, which is colluding with Israel to pass the fake Zionist narrative based on myths and not on any scientific or historical facts.
All the evidence in occupied Palestine prove that the Palestinian people are the original inhabitants of this land and that their civilization has continued throughout the centuries without interruption, including in Jerusalem, Hebron, Gaza, and every other town and village in Palestine, said the Foreign Minister.
He called on the international community and UNESCO to put pressure on Israel, the Occupying Power, to stop its illegal actions and attempts to deliberately sabotage Palestinian Christian and Muslim heritage, and to take actual steps to ensure the implementation of UNESCO resolutions on occupied Palestine and educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories, as well as those related to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif, (the Noble Sanctuary), the Old City of Jerusalem, the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old town of Hebron, and to demand an end to illegal Israeli excavations in occupied Jerusalem.