France’s PM criticizes UNESCO for adopting “Occupied Palestine” resolution

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which adopted a controversial resolution regarding alleged Israeli-violations on the Temple Mount; was accused by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as acting in a “clumsy” and “unfortunate” manner, stressing that UNESCO should have avoided adopting it, altogether.

The resolution that was named “Occupied Palestine” and was presented by several Arab countries in mid-April, referred to the Jerusalem compound only by its Muslim name, “Haram al-Sharif” and referred several times to Israel as an “occupying power”, completely avoiding any reference to the fact that the holy site, which is located at the southeastern corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and is the most sacred site in Judaism.

The French Prime Minister, who is scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories later this month, said the UNESCO resolution “changed nothing” in France’s approach towards the decades old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, stressing that the “UNESCO resolution contains unfortunate, clumsy wording that offends and unquestionably should have been avoided.” The controversy comes as France is hoping to lead a revival of the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process following a wave of violence which plagued Israel with Palestinian stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks since October of last year, as well as the worst flare-up of violence in and around the Gaza Strip for nearly two years.