Under pressure from Western states, Mexico backed away from its initial intention to call for a new vote on the resolution so that it could withdraw its support from the resolution.
Instead Mexico noted for the record that its position on the matter was one of abstention, but its statement does not technically change the vote numerical count as the 58-member board wrapped up its 200th session in Paris.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its web site that it had abstained in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico’s economic, social and cultural development.
Brazil also spoke at the final board session and indicated that it was unlikely to support such resolutions in the future.
But it would seem Israel has very much a glass half-full approach.
Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said after the ratification, “We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.”
“Mexico has taken a full step toward abandoning support of the Palestinians, after years of voting without hesitation against Israel.
“The best surprise of the morning,” he said, “is Brazil’s notification that while it did not change its vote this time, it will find it difficult not to do, if there is a resolution with another text that disregards the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,” Shama-Hacohen said.
He had led Israel’s campaign to halt the resolution’s passage and had always said that he believed it would be approved.
The issue for Israel with this particular resolution, he had said, would be the countries that voted against the text or abstained.
MK Amir Ohana (Likud) welcomed news of Mexico’s new position, particularly given that it had supported a similar resolution that came before the Executive Board last April.
“It’s a great Israel achievement that Mexico, which traditionally votes with the Arab countries, is asking to change its vote,” MK Amir Ohana (Likud) said.