Italy has become the first country in the European Union to publicly renounce and announce intent to reject a resolution that disavows Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.
The resolution has been backed by Palestinians.
The resolution was set for UNESCO vote on the same day Israelis were celebrating their Independence Day.
Italy had abstained from last year’s anti-Israel vote at UNESCO, while vowing that in the future, it would take a more proactive approach to defending the Jewish state.
And on Tuesday, Italy realized that vow.
UNESCO passed the resolution, regardless. But not by a major margin — and on that count, it’s being billed as a win for Israel — at least by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
From the Jerusalem Post:
“The low numbers in a UNESCO 22-10 vote disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem on the country’s birthday represent a diplomatic victory for Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“With 23 countries abstaining and 3 absent altogether, the 58 board members gathered in Paris approved the resolution referred to as “occupied Palestine” with minority support. The UNESCO Executive Board is expected to ratify the resolution on Friday.
“‘The number of countries who support this absurd UNESCO resolution is getting smaller,’ Netanyahu told the diplomatic corps at an Independence Day reception.
“It’s a significant shift from the passage of Jerusalem resolutions last year, with 33 nations approving a controversial anti-Israel text in April and 24 voting for it in October.
“With a determined effort it will be possible to whittle that number down further, “because there is no need for these types of votes in the UN,” Netanyahu said.
“Speaking at the International Bible Quiz prior to the vote, Netanyahu said that there was no nation in the world to whom Jerusalem was more holy than to the Jewish people.
“‘I know that today there is a vote in UESCO that will try to deny that simple truth, we reject UNESCO,’ he said. Throughout Jewish history, he added, Jerusalem was ‘the heart of the people, the place to which everyone turned to, went to, and prayed toward.’”