Israel apologises for UNESCO quake comments

Israel has apologized for a deputy minister who blamed the Italian earthquake on UNESCO as a punishment just hour before the Italian President Sergio Mattarella is due to arrive in Jerusalem for an official visit

Israel apologises for UNESCO quake comments

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israel apologised on Saturday after a deputy minister said an earthquake in Italy was punishment for a UNESCO resolution on east Jerusalem that has angered the Jewish state.

Ayub Kara, deputy minister of regional cooperation, said Wednesday he was sure the quake that hit central Italy the same day happened because of the resolution, which Israel has said denies the Jewish connection to the city.

"We repudiate the remarks of Deputy Minister Kara," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

"Since making the statement, Deputy Minister Kara has issued an apology, which is also endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," it said.

Kara is a Druze lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right Likud party.

The Arab-sponsored resolution passed by the UN cultural agency on October 18 criticised the Jewish state for restricting access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in annexed east Jerusalem.

Israel is furious that the UNESCO resolution refers to the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City only by its Muslim name, Al-Aqsa or Al-Haram al-Sharif.

Jews refer to the site as the Temple Mount and it is considered the holiest site in Judaism.

Israel recalled its ambassador to UNESCO for consultations on Wednesday over the issue.

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi last week described the resolution as "incomprehensible and unacceptable" and said his officials should have voted against it instead of abstaining.

Israel occupied and later invaded and has occupied Palestinian lands 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

UNESCO is responsible for protecting important heritage sites and is one of the few international organisations that recognise Palestine as a member state.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Ekim 2016, 17:22