Geneva:UNESCO has passed a resolution that criticizes Israeli regime’s actions in occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, which declares Israeli regime’s sovereignty over al-Quds as “null and void”, was backed by 22 countries voting in favor, a UNESCO spokesman said on Tuesday.
The United States, Germany, Italy and seven other board members voted against the resolution.
The resolution which also slams Israeli regime’s excavations in East al-Quds and the Old City was approved despite Tel Aviv’s intense attempts to exert pressure on members of the UN body to vote against it.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki welcomed the result of the vote, saying that the world had chosen to “stand on the side of what is right in the face of [Israel’s] injustice, occupation and its illegitimate policies”.
“We will defend our heritage and culture, our past and our future. We will face all the campaigns of distortion and destruction led by the Israeli occupation authority, armed with international law and the will of our Palestinian people who are capable of creating a future free from occupation,” he said.
The resolution calls on Israel, as the “occupying power”, to cease “persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects in East Al Quds”, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.
It reaffirms “the importance of the Old City of al-Quds and its walls for the three monotheistic religions”, while accusing the Israeli regime of taking actions that have “altered, or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City”.
The resolution, also criticizes the Israeli regime for its ten-year blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip.
Last year, the UNESCO approved a motion that endorses the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slammed Israeli provocations around the holy site.
The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli regime forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli regime forces in the tensions since the beginning of October 2015. The Tel Aviv regime has tried to Judaize and change the demographic makeup of al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites, and expelling the local Palestinian population.