Israel criticizes UN cultural agency resolution on Jerusalem

The President of the Republic also sent a congratulatory letter to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Old City is home to the Temple Mount - the location of the biblical temples and Judaism's holiest site.

"This cynical move must be recognized for what it is: a distorted, risky and illegitimate revision of history, which serves only as bait for adversaries of Israel seeking to strip the Jewish people's right to self-determination and deny its historic and religious link to Jerusalem".

The resolution, which is renewed periodically, passed with 22 votes for and 10 against with 23 abstentions and three absentees out of 58 member states. Israel has long complained of bias at U.N. forums, where it and its allies are often outnumbered by Arab nations and others that support the Palestinians.

The draft resolution now states that "any action taken by Israel, the occupying power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the city of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever".

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Last year, the UNESCO approved a motion that endorses the right of the Palestinians to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and slams Israeli provocations around the holy site.

Netanyahu said Tuesday's resolution marked an "improvement in the march of absurdity" as it mentions the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

In his letter the President of the Republic stated that Cyprus and Israel enjoy a partnership which is built on shared values and common vision and interests, adding that our cooperation benefits both our peoples and makes an important contribution to the prosperity of our region.

Elias Wadih Sanbar, the Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, said Tuesday's resolution was part of efforts to "stop giving a kind of blank check to an occupier that is acting with total illegality and impunity".

Foreign Minister Riyad Malki Tuesday welcomed the results of the vote of the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the adoption of the two resolutions on Palestine: Occupied Palestine and cultural and educational institutions. "Our opinion is very clear - UNESCO can not become the venue for a permanent ideological clash to address issues that other bodies are delegated to solve".

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