An UNhappy Resolution

On Thursday 13th October UNESCO passed a draft resolution that quoted only Islamic ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and completely ignored those of Judaism and Christianity. 24 countries voted for the resolution, 6 against, 26 abstained and 2 were absent. This caused outrage in Israel, whose government promptly froze their ties with UNESCO.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem

However, the controversy did not end there. After its representative walked out in protest and was removed from his post, Mexico changed its position from being in favour to abstaining. This prompted another vote on Tuesday that, nevertheless, confirmed the draft resolution.

But other aspects of the situation seem more sinister. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova received death threats after she expressed reservations about Arab-backed resolutions on the holy sites in Jerusalem.

And she is not the only one discontent with the behaviour in UNESCO. Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, described the resolution as "shocking." Upon his return to Italy he plans to summon the Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, to find out why Italy abstained from the vote instead of voting against.

And with this level of controversy, one has to ask why a resolution was considered passed when 26 out of 58 countries abstained from the vote – more than voted in favour. Surely that indicates the majority were not happy with the resolution.