UNESCO Ignores Historical Data Pertaining To Jewish Hebron

Hebron is an especially contentious territory, because both Jews and Muslims revere a same site as the traditional burial place of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs.

This week's cynical and inflammatory decisions on Hebron and Jerusalem do nothing to advance the peace process for Israelis and Palestinians, and only further pull them apart.

UN Watch is alarmed that the world body to protect cultural heritage was hijacked for the second time this week by a cynical, divisive and politicized campaign waged by the Palestinians, backed by the Arab bloc, Cuba and other dictatorships.

Today's (Friday) decision by UNESCO to recognize the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site has sparked outrage throughout Israel's political system. She would not comment on whether Hebron had been recognised as Palestinian, saying the exact wording would be decided later.

In a vote that took place in Krakow, Poland, the UN's cultural agency passed the resolution by 12 votes to three with six abstentions.

"This is a historical development because it stressed that Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque historically belong to the Palestinian people", said Palestinian Minister of Tourism Rula Maayah.

Referred to by Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and by Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, after the 14th-century house of prayer built there, the site has been a flashpoint of violence between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. It has taken a tougher line under the Trump administration against what it says is anti-Israel bias among certain United Nations organizations.

"It's disappointing and embarrassing to see UNESCO denying history and distorting reality time after time to knowingly serve those who try to wipe the Jewish state off the map", said Naftali Bennet, Israel's education minister and chairman of the Israeli UNESCO committee, according to Israeli news site Haaretz. Mr. Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, also heads Israel's UNESCO Committee.

"Hebron is a city in the heart of the State of Palestine that hosts a site invaluable to world heritage and holy to billions of people around the world of the three monotheistic religions", read a statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

Jewish groups condemned the UNESCO resolution.

"The UNESCO decision on Hebron and the Tomb of Patriarchs is a moral blot. Only in places Israel is present in, like Hebron, are religious freedoms for all, promised".

Brought by the Palestinians, the resolution declared Hebron's Old City, including areas where settlers live, to be an area of outstanding universal value.

An unidentified Arab ambassador to the UN's peak scientific and education body meant to support Israel in a hotly contested vote on Hebron Friday, according to screenshots published by the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper.

The proposal was submitted to the United Nations body's Cultural Committee by Arab states who originally presented a much harsher version which was formulated together with the Palestinians. In an intractable and long-running battle, Unesco's recognition is, at least, a move in the right direction for Palestinians.


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