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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
31 October 1996
Paris, 31 October
UNESCO's Executive Board today ended its 150th session ...
Among the decisions adopted, the board expressed its "deep concern over the delay in the implementation of the Oslo Agreement" and requested that Israel reopen the Palestinian educational and cultural institutions in Hebron and East Jerusalem it has closed.
It asked the Director-General to do his utmost to obtain free movement of Palestinian students from Gaza to attend colleges and universities in the West Bank, and vice versa. It also invited him to provide assistance to schools in the occupied Arab territories to preserve Syrian Arab cultural identity, and to create a special fund from voluntary contributions for Palestinian higher education.
In a decision concerning Jerusalem, the board deplored the opening of the tunnel running along the western wall of the Haram ash-Sharif and extending to Bab al-Fawaghr, "an act which has offended religious sensibilities throughout the world." It requested Israeli authorities to return the tunnel to its prior state and expressed "its great apprehension at the retarding of the peace process and the delay in the implementation of the agreements
in this connection."
The Executive Board, composed of 58 Member States, some one-third of UNESCO's total membership, meets twice a year to oversee the implementation of programmes adopted by the General Conference, the Organization's main decision-making body, as well as financial and administrative matters. The board's next session will be in April 1997.