United Nations designates Hebron tomb revered within Jewish faith as Palestinian heritage site

08 July, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Netherlands outraged after Israel seized Dutch-funded solar panels in West Bank

Following the decision, the holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque is a "Palestinian site" and considered "under threat".

It is the second holiest site in Judaism and the fourth in Islam.

Many Palestinians have been shot to death, especially since October of past year, under the pretexts of carrying out "deliberate ramming attacks", after their cars crashed into Israeli vehicles, including army and police jeeps.

Earlier this week, UNESCO approved a resolution denying Jewish historical claims to the Old City of Jerusalem.

The decision draws attention to the situation in Hebron and obliges the World Heritage committee to review its situation every year.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon dismissed the UNESCO decision, saying, "This attempt to sever the ties between Israel and Hebron is shameful and offensive, and eliminates UNESCO's last remaining shred of credibility".

By listing sites on the United Nations cultural organisation's World Heritage in Danger list, UNESCO seeks to mobilise the worldwide community to protect them.

Hebron is also a stark symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The vote was held in secret at UNESCO World Heritage Committee's 41st annual summit, now taking place in Krakow, Poland, following a special request, despite decisions usually being made by a show of hands.

Twelve ended up voting in favour, while three opposed it.

Israel plans to cut one million dollars from its funding to the United Nations so that it can build a museum in Hebron.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded by calling UNESCO a "politically slanted organization, disgraceful and anti-Semitic, whose decisions are scandalous", Haaretz reported.

Today, UNESCO is set to vote on a palestinian-led motion to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the Old City of Hebron, listed on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger, and registered as located in the "State of Palestine".

"UNESCO's resolution must be rejected, and our efforts to strengthen the city of our fathers increased".

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative-leaning Israeli research group, said the Unesco designation ran contrary to the Palestinian commitments in the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s for the joint governance of Hebron and shared worship in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Months after the 1967 war, when Israel won the West Bank from Jordan, Jewish settlers came back to the city.

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