In tandem with United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the PA and PLO have decided to recognize Jerusalem as "the capital of Arab culture" for 2009.
UNESCO is working with Palestinian Authority officials and key Israeli Arab figures in Israel to organize celebrations and turn them into a huge event against what they describe as the Israeli occupation of "Holy Jerusalem."
...Since 1996, the title "capital of Arab culture" has been accorded by the Arab bloc in UNESCO to one of the capitals in the Arab world. This year, for example, Damascus, capital of Syria, was given the coveted title, and last year Algiers, capital of Algeria, received it. Other cities that received the title over the years were Cairo, Tunis, Amman, Beirut and Khartoum.
Leave it to the UN.
There seems to be 2 approaches as to how confrontational the Palestinian Arabs are trying to be in this latest strategy.
On the one hand, Amir Mahoul, the chairman of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, the umbrella organization of the Arab NPOs in Israel is claiming that the event is a direct challenge to Israel:
Mr. Mahoul stressed that he and the PA plan to turn the events associated with the title into a campaign against the occupation of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. "This will be an event symbolizing the battle against the occupation, beyond the historical and cultural value of Jerusalem," he explained. "We will stress that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestinian-Arab culture, which is under occupation, and Israel should realize that every time there is a battle over Jerusalem, it loses."Apparently Mr. Mahoul has never heard of the Six Day War. Of course, another point would be to ask how Jerusalem could be a capital when there has never been a Palestinian state. Perhaps with that latter point in mind, Mahmoud Mawasi, the secretary general of Mada, the Arab Democratic Party refers to Jerusalem as a cultural center instead of a capital:
...Mahmoud Mawasi, said that the purpose of the events was to raise awareness of the Arabic and Islamic past of Jerusalem and not necessarily to create friction with the Israeli establishment. "We don't want to clash with the establishment," he said, "rather our intention is to celebrate the fact that Jerusalem was for many years the center of Arab and Islamic culture."
And whatever is going to happen next year, Israel will not have the West on her side:
Although it is widely assumed that the Western nations recognize Israel's sovereignty in Western Jerusalem, that assumption is not correct. No member state of the United Nations maintains an embassy in Jerusalem. Every nation in the world, except for Israel, list birth certificates of their nationals who were born in Jerusalem as having been born in Jerusalem, with no listing of the country of birth. That includes the United States.
So the question is what Israel, which has not been successful in Hasbarah to begin with, will counter this latest propaganda ploy. With Olmert ready to compromise on East Jerusalem, how much of a response can we expect?