Dubai: The resolution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) which on Tuesday described Jerusalem as “occupied” and declared Israel’s sovereignty over the city “null and void” is expected to raise the Palestinian spirit, said analysts and human rights advocates said.
“It is a good decision,” said Jamal Eid, lawyer and executive director of the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information. “It is better it came late rather than not coming at all,” he told Gulf News.
The resolution, backed by 22 countries, opposed by 10 and saw 23 abstentions, labels Israel an “occupying power” and calls on it to cease its “persistent excavations, tunnelling, works and projects” in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.
The resolution which affirmed the importance of the Old City to the three monotheistic religions accused Israel of taking actions that have “altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City”.
The resolution also condemned the Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza.
Israel naturally criticised Unesco’s move, while the Palestinians welcomed it as a “step forward” and a “victory for international law”.
Many Palestinian politicians, including Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, was quoted as saying “we understand very well that we are struggling against a huge power supported by many countries, including the US. And we know that our success will be cumulative — step by step, stone by stone … We know it won’t change the reality on the ground immediately, but this is certainly one step forward.”
Other Arab analysts expressed similar views.
“I believe it is more of a symbolic resolution more than anything else,” said Marwan Qabalan, a researcher at Doha-based Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, pointing out the organisation has no real authority.
Yet, the “resolution came as a sort of moral victory to the Palestinian rights and some sort of denunciation to Israel”, Qabalan said.
While political analysts and human rights advocates say Unesco’s vote would “in no way” influence American support to Israel, Eid expressed his belief that the resolution will “reveal the real nature” of both US administration as “undemocratic” and Israel as a “colonial” country.
Such a resolution would have an impact if the international system is based on “law and international norms”, said Qabalan.
“But as long as the international relations is based on the rule of power and force”, nothing will change and the “weaker side will continue to suffer from such a system”.