By TOVAH LAZAROFF / JPost
On a notice posted on its Foreign Ministry’s website, Mexico stated that it was changing its vote in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
Mexico is under fire at UNESCO for its plan to insist that the 58-member Executive Board must not immediately ratify a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Instead it wants the Executive Board this afternoon to hold a new vote on the resolution, which was given preliminary approval last Thursday in a 24-6 vote. Twenty-six nations abstained and two were absent from the room.
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Last week Mexico voted in favor of the resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount and it’s adjoining Western Wall almost solely by its Muslim names of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Buraq Wall.
Last night, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said it wants to change that vote and be on record, instead, as abstaining.
Mexico is taking this step, the Foreign Ministry said, in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico’s economic, social and cultural development.
According to Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Mexico’s call for a new vote on the Jerusalem resolution has received scant support.
Even Western countries that opposed the vote, want Mexico to formally change its stance on the resolution without actually calling for a new vote.
Countries are allowed to call for a new vote, but this rarely happens because most UNESCO resolutions are adopted by consensus.
Western countries, however, are afraid that Mexico’s actions would empower similar calls for new votes on other resolutions that initially passed by consensus, Shama-Hacohen said.
Israel has continued with its efforts to press for a new vote as well, even though it understands “the wider interests” are at play here for Western countries, Shama-Hacohen said.
Given the significance of the matter, the Foreign Ministry has allowed Shama-Hacohen and his staff to be active at UNESCO on Tuesday, even though such work is religiously prohibited abroad on the second day of the Succot holiday. MK Amir Ohana (Likud) welcomed news of Mexico’s new position, particularly given that it had supported a similar resolution that came before the Executive Board last April.
“It’s a great Israeli achievement that Mexico, which traditionally votes with the Arab countries, is asking to change its vote,” Ohana said.
The Executive Board often approves en masse preliminary votes taken during its sessions. But member states have the option to open resolutions up for debate and/or to change their votes. They can also ask for a delay in the resolution’s approval.
Israel had initially expected that a number of countries would ask for a delay in voting on the resolution all together.