Anger over UNESCO science chair at Gaza university

Relations between Israel and UNESCO have reached a new low following the organisation's inauguration of a chair in astronomy, astrophysics and space sciences at the Islamic University of Gaza, which Israel identifies with Hamas, writes Barak Ravid for Haaretz.

The inauguration, by UNESCO Secretary-general Irina Bokova, was made possible after the organisation accepted Palestine as its 195th member several months ago. Palestine's acceptance caused the United States to cut off funding to the UN agency.

After holding heated discussions with UNESCO officials last Wednesday, the Israeli ambassador to the agency, Nimrod Barkan, was to submit a formal letter of protest on Thursday. The chair is seen as a stamp of approval from the UN body, implying recognition of the university's importance as an academic institution. The move angered Jerusalem because it believes the university has served for years as a political hub for Hamas support.
Full report on the Haaretz site