Tel Aviv [Israel]: The United States and Israel have formally quitted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Tuesday.
The Times of Israel reported that the move came following alleged allegations that the Paris-based organisation criticised Israel’s policies of East Jerusalem’s occupation and the grant of full-time membership to Palestine in defiance of the American and Israeli pressure.
“UNESCO is a body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was quoted as saying.
“It is corrupted and manipulated by Israel’s enemies, and continually singles out the only Jewish state for condemnation. We are not going to be a member of an organisation that deliberately acts against us,” Danon added.
Israel initiated the withdrawal process after the US declared to step out of UNESCO in 2017.
“We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organisation stands and we will move forward to carry it out,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The Jewish state, which is home to six UNESCO world heritage sites including Masada, the Old City of Acre, the Bahai Temples in Haifa and the “White City” of Tel Aviv, had joined the United Nations organisation on September 16, 1949. However, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed that these sites will continue to remain as world heritage sites even after Israel formally quits from the UNESCO membership.
However, Al Jazeera further stated that the withdrawal from both the countries would not affect the UN organisation financially as both Israel and the US had stopped funding it since Palestine’s membership was granted in 2011.