UNESCO votes to condemn Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem

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Israel has lashed out at the United Nations cultural agency over a resolution criticizing its excavations in and around Jerusalem's Old City, which contains sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

"Even now, after this miserable vote, this blue and white flag is flying high above the Temple Mount and throughout Israel's eternal capital city, Jerusalem, waving in the wind, saying to all, 'Here we are, and we are here to stay, '" Shama-Hacohen said. Such activities by an occupying power are illegal under worldwide law, said the resolution, which several Arab countries had tabled.

Some 66 percent of Arab Israelis said their country's situation was "good" or "very good", according to a survey released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

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.

"I can live with either one", Trump said at a joint press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Most of the global community considers East Jerusalem to be occupied territory, a view the U.N. Security Council reaffirmed in December. It also notes that The Patriarchs' Cave and Rachel's Tomb in Hebron "are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam" - though it calls them "Palestinian sites".

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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The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding that Israel disavow Jerusalem as its capital.

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

The Palestinian "martyrs' fund" makes monthly payments to about 35,000 families of Palestinians killed and wounded in the long-running conflict with Israel, and says the money amounts to welfare payments to help victims of Israel's occupation.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he had instructed the country's representative at UNESCO to vote against what he called "the latest politicized resolution on Jerusalem".

The country's national day was established when David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel by then-Palestine's Jewish leadership in 1948.

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