To Be or Not to…?
The UNESCO management regrets the decision of Tel Aviv, because it is convinced that it is better to settle the differences within the framework of UNESCO, and not outside it.
On the eve of 2018, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay received formal notification from the Israeli government of its withdrawal from the organization. According to her, responsibility for decisions taken by voting lies with the member states of the organization. Full participation in the work of UNESCO allows us to conduct dialogue, develop cooperation and partnership relations, which today are needed more than ever, Ms Azoulay underscored.
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
In 2011, UNESCO became the first of the UN entities to officially recognize a non-existent Palestine as a full member state of the organization. In response, Israel and the US froze their annual payments, and in 2014 they lost the right to vote.
The further discontent of Israel was reinforced by the fact that several tourist attractions that the country considers to be its own belong to Palestine. It is the Old City of Hebron, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the cultural landscape of the southern part of Jerusalem. Hebron was included as a Palestinian landmark in the World Heritage List in July 2017.
In October 2017, Washington announced the withdrawal from the organization, leaving behind an observer status. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called such a decision ‘bold and moral’. On December 23, the head of the Israeli government instructed the country’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Cohen to submit an official statement to the leadership of this organization, where it will be said that Israel will withdraw from it until the end of 2018.
HOWEVER, IN RELATIONS WITH UNESCO, NOT EVERYTHING
IS SO PLAIN AND SIMPLE
The appointment of the French Jewess as the Director General of the organization leaves a light of hope. Netanyahu himself has made it clear that within the next year Israel will closely monitor UNESCO’s work under the leadership of the new CEO. Although, as the world’s mass media write, in this case the fact of the Jewry of the former Minister of Culture of France does not say anything, given her critical attitude to the policy of the Israeli government.
Ambassador Shama-Cohen intends to explain to the new Director General that his country can change its plans, although he considers Israel’s decision to be completely logical.
Under UNESCO Charter, withdrawal from its ranks acquires legal force only a year after the filing of the corresponding application. The US filed it in October, so it will be out of UNESCO only in October 2018. Similarly, in the case of Israel, the one-year period from the filing date will be counted down.