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CIJA Condemns UNESCO Decision

Jordan Kerbel,June 30, 2012

Today, UNESCO’s 21-nation World Heritage Committee voted to approve a Palestinian bid to place the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on its list of sites of World Heritage in Danger. This is an 18-month shortcut around the usual application process for World Heritage recognition. UNESCO experts had opposed the Palestinian application on the grounds that it did not fulfil the criteria for this emergency procedure.

Significantly, the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches in Bethlehem also opposed the move.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CEO Shimon Fogel issued the following statement: “This latest abusive effort by the Palestinian leadership to hijack the UN’s important work must be seen for what it truly is – an attempt to achieve statehood without making peace as required by previous internationally recognized agreements.

“The United Nations has a significant role to play in international affairs, but tragically its operations are continually distorted and its procedures abused. UNESCO’s decision is a profoundly disappointing example of this. Expert advice and input from key church stakeholders have been completely ignored, and standard process has been circumvented.

“Canada should stand on principle and vigorously oppose such counterproductive actions at the UN. Otherwise, we may very well find its agencies completely bereft of integrity and credibility.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.