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Israel under fire by UNESCO for acts of aggression in occupied territories

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces check a Palestinian man at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), October 20, 2015. ©AFP

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has approved a resolution, criticizing Israel for restricting Muslim worshipers' access to the al-Asqa Mosque and failing to protect Muslim heritage sites in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The resolution, which was drafted by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was passed on Wednesday, with 26 out of the 58 member states on UNESCO’s executive board voting in favor of the proposal.

While six countries, including the US, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia, opposed the resolution, 25 members countries abstained.

The document condemned the Israeli “aggression” against Palestinian worshipers, its restrictive measures on the entry of Muslims into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as Tel Aviv’s “attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”

The UNESCO resolution also “deeply deplores the recent repression in East Jerusalem (al-Quds), and the failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City.”

The resolution was passed amid a rising wave of tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories, which was triggered by Israel’s imposition in August of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds.

Palestinians are also angry at increasing violence by illegal Israeli settlers, who frequently storm the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound.

According to the latest figures, more than 50 Palestinians have lost their lives in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers since the beginning of October.

Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian, who was killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral near the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), October 21, 2015. ©Reuters

Elsewhere, the newly-adopted UNESCO resolution further urged the “prompt reconstruction of schools, universities, cultural heritage sites, cultural institutions, media centers and places of worship that have been destroyed or damaged by the consecutive Israeli wars on Gaza.”

The Tel Aviv regime has launched three wars on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip since 2008. Almost 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the Israel’s onslaught last year, while some 11,000 were injured.

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