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Published: Wed, October 19, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Israeli Extremists Storm Al Aqsa, Ibrahimi Mosques


The UN cultural agency on Tuesday adopted a controversial Arab-sponsored resolution condemning Israel's actions at a flashpoint holy site in east Jerusalem that has sparked fury in Israel.

Israel suspended its cooperation with UNESCO over the resolution last week, though it is not clear what programs the suspension will affect. Israel had already suspended its funding to UNESCO when Palestinian membership was approved, along with the United States, which used to provide 22 percent of the agency's budget.

The resolution criticizes Israel for restricting Muslim access to the site.

Israel last week suspended its ties with the United Nations cultural agency over the measure.

Around 200 Israeli extremists, on Tuesday, held provocative tours of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in annexed East Jerusalem's Old City district, heeding calls by parent organizations to increase Jewish presence on the holy site during the Jewish holidays, according to mosque officials.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: "This is an important message to Israel that it must end its occupation and recognize the Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital with its sacred Muslim and Christian sites".

- Unease in UNESCO - ==================== This is the second time this year that the United Nations agency, which accepted Palestine as a full member state in 2011, has been the focal point of tensions between Israel and Arab countries. The resolution put forth by Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan did not specify that the site referenced only as Haram al-Sharif was also holy to Jews, alongside Muslims.

Unesco's executive board chairman Michael Worbs said on Friday he would have liked more time to work out a compromise.

Muslims contest this claim and say that years of Jewish excavations under and around the holy site had never revealed any evidence of a Jewish temple at that location. Jerusalem is an open city.

The organization noted that 24 countries voted for the resolution, and six countries were against it.

The status of Jerusalem is the thorniest issue of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

MK Amir Ohana (Likud) welcomed news of Mexico's new position, particularly given that it had supported a similar resolution that came before the Executive Board last April.

"I hope it will not last long", Shama Hacohen told AFP. "There is no place for these games in UNESCO".

On the Gaza Strip, this resolution "deeply deplores the new cycle of violence, going on since October 2015, in the context of the constant aggressions by Israeli settlers and other extremist groups against Palestinian residents, including school children, also asks the Israeli authorities to prevent such aggressions".

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