SWC Laments UNESCO Decision to Transfer Palestinian State Vote to the General Conference Agenda

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Wiesenthal Centre laments UNESCO Executive Board decision to transfer Palestinian State vote to the General Conference agenda

Membership will be determined by 193 Member States at the end of October

Paris, 6 October

The Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels commended the 4 votes against and the 14 abstentions.

"All of them were States - particularly in Europe and Latin America - with which the Centre has been intensely working on this issue over the last months."

"...we will continue to press the dangers of a precipitate acknowledgement of statehood that will torpedo ongoing negotiations in New York at the UN Security Council and Quartet efforts to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks", added Samuels.

See letter below that was sent to European bloc : Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Monaco, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Uzbekistan ; and Latin American bloc : Argentina, Barbados, Chile,El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Peru, Santa Lucie.



H.E. Mr. Foreign Minister

Mr. Foreign Minister,

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is an international Jewish human rights organization with over 400.000 members. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.

We write to you in regard to a call for recognition of Palestine as a Member State of UNESCO, to be submitted for consideration by the Executive Board in Paris.

Paragraph 3 of that resolution admits that "the status of Palestine is the subject of the ongoing deliberations at the United Nations in New York".

The UNESCO move is a duplication that voids the simultaneous procedure at UN Headquarters, thus undermining the Security Council. It is a rebuff to the Quartet Statement, which was designed to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian bilateral relations. This Palestinian initiative aims at avoiding negotiations in order to continue the conflict.

Indeed, this step prejudges negotiations in New York and allows the Palestinians to ignore Israeli calls to resume peace talks. It can only provoke a new wave of violence.

Our Centre urges you to postpone this unilateral initiative and permit the negotiation procedure in New York to take its course.

The Resolution is accompanied by a letter from the Palestinian Observer to UNESCO which speaks of Palestinian heritage sites in its territory.

The letterhead of this same document features a map of Palestine superimposed over the entire State of Israel.

The purpose of the UNESCO ploy is patently clear. This exercise in terrorism diplomacy aims to hijack the UN system for the perpetuation of the conflict.

Most respectfully,

Dr. Shimon Samuels Lic. Sergio D. Widder Director for International Relations Director for Latin America

Attached : Palestinian Draft Resolution and accompanying letter of Palestinian Observer to UNESCO

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)609770158