UNESCO vote sparks outrage in Israel
Watch: Shama HaCohen tells UNESCO that plumbing problem at home is more important than their decisionsFollowing today's outrageous UNESCO decision to recognize the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, the Israeli envoy to UNESCO and the OECD concluded his speech at the committee conference in Krakow, Poland by stating that a plumbing issue at home is much more important than any decision they make.
During his speech at UNESCO today (Friday) following today's decision regarding the Cave of the Patriarchs, Israel’s envoy Carmel Shama Hacohen told the audience he had to leave in order to deal with a plumbing problem at home. "This was intended to show them how much this organization has deteriorated and how low it had reached - that a plumbing problem was much more important and interesting for me to deal with,” said Shama Hacohen in an interview with Channel 2 News on Friday. "Their discussions have no value or meaning, they make fun of UNESCO regulations and history - everything is broken. Obviously, no country wants to host this conference next year. It has become a circus.”
"If we continue to be nice, kind and diplomatic like we have been in the past, it only stimulates their appetite and shows supposed weakness," explained Shama Hacohen. "We want to show that in every international organization the Palestinians join, the organization becomes damaged and its work, disturbed. Therefore, we will not lower our heads, rather, we’ll respond properly."
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However, the envoy notes that despite the ongoing votes against Israel, there have been some achievements in the international arena. "It used to be that only the United States supported us, and today there are already 10 who vote for us," the envoy reminded. "In Africa, South America and even in Europe, we have changed historic voting patterns. India that consistently voted against us, is now on our side. The same happened in Argentina and other countries."
Shama Hacohen agreed that there is the option of canceling his appointment as Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, but noted that this decision is in the prime minister’s hands: "It's cynical to think that we are staying in the organization simply because I want to continue living abroad. I am also Israel's envoy to the OECD which is 80% of my work, even though my work at UNESCO is what makes noise."
Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision "delusional," saying that only at sites in the region where Israel is present are religious freedoms protected. Furthermore, Netanyahu announced he would strip Israel’s UN membership contribution by $1 million that will go instead to the opening of a Jewish Heritage Museum in Kiryat Arba and Hebron.
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