Politics

Benjamin Netanyahu asks Italy to oppose further UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions – Arab-Israeli Conflict


Netanyahu and Italian FM Angelino Alfano.
(photo credit:AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Italy to make good on its pledge to oppose any resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that will likely continue to come before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) boards and committees.

“The Palestinians must stop the incitement against Israel,” Netanyahu told visiting Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfanso when the two met in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.

Last fall, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised Netanyahu that his country would take a stand against the Palestinian drive at UNESCO to refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office Netanyahu pointed out to Alfanso “the absurdity of the recent UNESCO decision and asked Italy to oppose the next vote at the organization.”

Italy is a member of UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board, which meets twice a year. In 2016 the board passed a resolution on Jerusalem at both sessions that did not use the phrase Temple Mount, to refer to Judaism’s holiest religious site. Italy abstained in both the spring and fall votes.

The Executive Board is next scheduled to meet this spring in Paris from April 19 to May 4. It’s presumed that the Palestinian Authority will submit anti-Israel resolutions to the UNESCO board, including one on Jerusalem that refers to the Temple Mount solely as Al Haram Al Sharif. For Muslims, the top of the Temple Mount, with its golden domed mosque is the third holiest site after Mecca and Medina.

Separately, Netanyahu and Alfanso spoke about ways to increased bi-lateral cooperation between Israel and Italy, particularly in Africa where both governments are helping African countries find solutions to issues relating to water and agriculture.

During their meeting Alfano also “emphasized his obligation to defend the Italian Jewish community against incidents of anti-Semitism,” the PMO said.

In the afternoon Alfanso was scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

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