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UNESCO to send fact-finding commission to Jerusalem

May 16, 2013 5:58 P.M. (Updated: May 18, 2013 12:11 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – UNESCO will send a fact-finding commission on May 20 to investigate ongoing Israeli measures in Jerusalem, the Palestinian minister of foreign affairs said Thursday.

Riyad al-Malki told a news conference in Ramallah that the commission would spend five days in Jerusalem before returning to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to submit a detailed report.

The last time an international commission investigated Israeli procedures in Jerusalem was in 2004.

Al-Malki highlighted that Israeli assaults against holy places in Jerusalem were part of a systematic policy crystallized recently. There have been clear attempts to take control of the al-Aqsa Mosque and its squares and gates, he said.

President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, has asked the ministry of foreign affairs to call an emergency meeting of the Arab League. The council convened Sunday, added al-Malki, and came up with several decisions related to Jerusalem.

Messages have also been sent to foreign ministers all over the world urging them to help protect Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem and to exert pressure on Israel.

Asked about Palestine joining the International Criminal Court, al-Malki said that move wouldn’t be easy as it couldn’t be achieved immediately. The Palestinian leadership, he said, has given directives to complete all preparations to join the ICC, but that necessitates that Palestine signs the Rome Convention.

Palestinian legal experts should first study the Rome Convention and learn about the consequences of such a step before signing the convention, according to al-Malki.

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