Israel to allow UNESCO team into Jerusalem
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Israel to allow UNESCO team into Jerusalem

Delgation will visit Old City; Israeli officials will take part in Paris meeting about Mughrabi Bridge

The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City, with Mughrabi Ascent bridge in foreground (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
The Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City, with Mughrabi Ascent bridge in foreground (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israel has agreed to allow a mission from UNESCO to visit the Old City of Jerusalem next month, a small victory for those hoping to end the deadlock between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel announced Tuesday that it also has agreed to take part in a meeting in Paris of experts from the UN’s cultural body next month focused on the Mughrabi Bridge, a wooden walkway that leads to the Temple Mount.

In turn, the Palestinians are to drop, for now, a debate on five resolutions condemning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Cultural heritage has risen as a flashpoint for the two sides since the Palestinians were admitted to UNESCO in 2011, over US objections. UNESCO was the first UN organization to accept the Palestinian state as a member following the failed bid by President Mahmoud Abbas that year to achieve upgraded nonmember state status, a victory he achieved a year later at the UN General Assembly.

The organization lost an estimated $80 million per year in donations from the US following the admittance of the Palestinians.

AP and Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.

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