Russia Comes to Israel’s Aid at UNESCO Meeting
Russia and Israel often find themselves at odds in the international arena. While Israel has strongly condemned Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad’s brutality against his own people, Russia continues to support Assad’s regime. Along with China and Iran, Russia has opposed calls for Assad to step down. Russia has also warned Israel against attacking Iran and has spoken out against EU sanctions on Iran. It has denied Israel’s claims that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons and rejects the idea that Iran would attack Israel if it did.
Yet Russia came to Israel’s defense this morning. According to The Times of Israel, Russia “protected Israel from UNESCO condemnations” at an Executive Board meeting held today. According to The Palestinian News Network (PNN), “Several Arab Countries including Syria issued decisions that condemn Israel’s illegal activities in the fields of education and culture in the Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights.”
The board was set to vote on a series of resolutions condemning Israel. According to Malkah Fleisher of The Jewish Press, the resolutions charged Israel with “trying to change the character of Jerusalem by conducting archaeological digs without the approval of former occupying country Jordan,” as well as allowing Jews to pray on the temple mount, “neglecting education in Gaza,” letting Jewish settlers live in the regions of Judea and Samaria and mistreating Arabs in the Golan heights.
Jordan was strongly pushing UNESCO members to adopt the resolutions and to condemn Israel.However, according to The Times, Russia’s envoy “presented an alternative plan stipulating that the resolutions be delayed for six months during which negotiations would be held with Israel to send a UN fact-finding team to Jerusalem.”
Russia’s compromise, says The Times, passed with a 28 to 23 vote. France, it says, was the only European nation to vote against the compromise. Fleisher described Russia’s compromise as “a rare instance of breaking step with the Arab world.” Meanwhile, Barak Ravid described Russia’s intervention as “a surprising turn.” Yet, while friendly or at least, diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia may be rare, they are not unheard of. According to Canada’s Financial Post, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement two years ago.
Filed Under: Politics
About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda