Sunday, July 17, 2011

Arabs have a problem with reading comprehension

A couple of days ago, a rumor spread throughout the Arab world that UNESCO had declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel on its website.

And the condemnations were fast and furious.

The PLO condemned UNESCO. So did the Muslim Brotherhood. And Hamas. And the Arab League. And Lebanese politicians. And a conference in Cairo.

Yet not one of these condemners could actually point to a UNESCO web page that said anything of the sort.

(UNESCO has a lot of documents on its site, and a couple of them quote Israeli sources about Jerusalem, but I cannot find any UNESCO declaration of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel.)

Keep in mind that much of Jerusalem is within the Green Line so there is really no logical reason why the world should not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It is pure hypocrisy to say that Jerusalem is "Palestine's" capital but denying that it is Israel's capital, when it unquestionably is - nations determine their capital cities, not the world community or that nation's enemies.

Nevertheless, UNESCO was compelled to issue a clarification:

UNESCO wishes to reiterate that, contrary to recent allegations, there has been no change in UNESCO’s position on Jerusalem.

The Old City of Jerusalem is inscribed on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. UNESCO continues to work to ensure respect for the outstanding universal value of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem. This position is reflected on UNESCO’s official website (www.unesco.org). In line with relevant UN resolutions, East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations.
The Arab world, however, manages to misunderstand UNESCO's statement as well.

Ma'an's headline says "UN: Jerusalem is part of occupied territories." Not "East Jerusalem," but "Jerusalem."

Egypt.com says "According to the UN, UNESCO said Jerusalem is still a part of occupied Palestine. " So does Youm7.

So Arabs swallowed an unverified rumor without doing the smallest amount of checking, forcing UNESCO to  capitulate to their demands, which they then misinterpret again.

When will anything in the Middle East be based on reality rather than Arab hysteria?