sraeli-Palestinian Meeting under UNESCO Auspices

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
December 11, 1997

About 40 Israelis, Palestinians and UNESCO representatives met yesterday (Wednesday) 10.12.97, at the Jerusalem Moriah Hotel, to discuss a program of cooperation based on "people to people" projects, under UNESCO’s auspices.

The Israeli group was led by MKs Yehuda Lankry and Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, and included representatives from universities, educational and scientific institutions, and the Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry’s Cultural and Scientific Affairs Division was the coordinating body.

The Palestinian group was led by Deputy Minister for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Planning, Dr. Anis al-Kak. Representatives came from Bethlehem, Al-Quds and Al-Najah universities, and included the Palestinian Authority’s director of "people to people" relations, an NGO delegation headed by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh and others.

UNESCO was represented by Dr. Graciella Samuels, who arrived especially from Paris, and the director of UNESCO’s Ramallah office, Dr. Ernest Fassbender.

The forum decided on principles, structure and activities, and the establishment of a joint Israeli-Palestinian steering committee with a UNESCO representative and a coordinating committee which will meet within 3-4 weeks in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The experts, who held fruitful discussions, were asked to submit to the steering committee proposals for joint projects, which will be forwarded to UNESCO for approval and funding. The forum decided to continue long-term cooperation with the aim of deepening understanding between the two peoples on the basis of mutual respect. The forum agreed that in order to achieve these objectives, it is important to create the conditions that will facilitate the realization of the projects and the deepening of cooperation.