Israel to allow UNESCO team into Jerusalem
Delgation will visit Old City; Israeli officials will take part in Paris meeting about Mughrabi Bridge
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.