Israel marks somber Memorial Day for fallen soldiers

The cultural body of the United Nations was expected to adopt a resolution on Tuesday, Israel's Independence Day, classifying the Jewish state as an "occupying power" in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the resolution as "absurd" but said the vote is a sign that more countries are being supportive of the Jewish state in worldwide forums, according to the Times of Israel. The draft resolution is also expected to condemn the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem and call for the deployment of worldwide observes to the city.

The UNESCO resolution further ignores that the Temple Mount and Western Wall - the holiest sites in Judaism - are located in eastern Jerusalem, which is steeped in Jewish history.

Some 66 percent of Arab Israelis said their country's situation was "good" or "very good", according to a survey released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

Illegal settlers installed dozens of Israeli flags on the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, ahead of "Israeli Independence Day", celebrated on Nakba Day, when some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948.

Israeli archaeological excavations and other infrastructure projects in the Old City have long stoked tensions.

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Particularly concerning to the Israeli government is a clause stating that "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the "basic law" on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith".

"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has once again undermined its own legitimacy by approving a ludicrous decision that denies the State of Israel's sovereignty over its legal capital in Jerusalem", Lauder said.

UNESCO caused an uproar previous year when member states approved a resolution that diminished Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he had instructed the country's representative at UNESCO to vote against what he called "the latest politicized resolution on Jerusalem". "Our opinion is very clear - UNESCO can not become the venue for a permanent ideological clash to address issues that other bodies are delegated to solve".

Like most countries, the US maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv because Israelis and Palestinians have competing claims to Jerusalem.

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