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UN wants references to Jerusalem as capital nixed from exhibit on Knesset — report

Report says Israeli request to put up display at United Nations HQ has been conditioned on removal of items to ‘help prevent contradictions with international law’

An exhibit about the Knesset to mark 70 years since the State of Israel's founding is seen at Ben Gurion Airport on January 15, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
An exhibit about the Knesset to mark 70 years since the State of Israel's founding is seen at Ben Gurion Airport on January 15, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The UN has conditioned Israel’s request for an exhibit on the Knesset at the organization’s headquarters in New York on the removal of some content, including references to Jerusalem as the country’s capital, Israeli television reported Thursday.

The exhibit, titled “The Knesset Celebrates 70 — Parliament Shaping Israeli Society,” was previously displayed at Ben Gurion Airport in 2019.

According to Channel 12 news, the Israeli delegation to the United Nations asked to display the exhibit at UN headquarters, but was told a number of items would have to be removed.

Among the reportedly objectionable content was an item about a quasi-constitutional Basic Law passed in 1980 that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s “complete and united” capital.

“Please erase slide 43: According to relevant General Assembly and Security Council decisions, the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, is not valid from our point of view,” the UN was quoted as saying in its instructions.

“This is a most sensitive issue and the information in the slide contradicts international law.”

Tourists look at a view of the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount from the lookout of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, on November 28, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The legislation included the annexation of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War and is claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of a future state. The move was not recognized internationally.

The network reported the UN also instructed Israel to remove text accompanying a photo of the Knesset that describes Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people and their holy city.”

“This quote is not relevant to the picture and its erasure will help prevent contradictions with international law and political sensitivities,” the UN reportedly told Israel.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, protested the demands in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and requested the exhibit be displayed without alterations.

“The impertinent demand of the UN to censor the exhibit and remove pictures that reflect our national history is in fact a request to rewrite Israel’s history and we will not agree to that in any way,” Erdan said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addresses the General Assembly on January 20, 2022. (Screen capture)

The network noted the tensions over the display come ahead of Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy’s scheduled meeting next week with Guterres.

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