UNESCO Recognizes Hebron, Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian Heritage Sites

UNESCO Recognizes Hebron, Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian Heritage Sites

An Ultra-orthodox Jewish man walks outside the Patriarchs' Tomb, known in Arabic as the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the the divided West Bank city of Hebron on May 29, 2017.

In a secret ballot conducted on Friday, 7 July, at the UNESCO annual summit in Krakow, Poland, 12 country members of the organisation voted in favour of the resolution - which had been brought by the Palestinians - while three opposed and six abstained, AFP reported. Rula Maayah, the Palestinian minister of tourism, said it was a "historical development because it stressed that Hebron" and its historic mosque "historically belong to the Palestinian people". "And it further discredits an already highly questionable United Nations agency", she said in a statement.

"This means that the association of Hebron with Jewish and early Christian societies is given little recognition, and Tell Rumeida [an area of Biblical Hebron] and other sites are excluded from the boundaries", wrote a panel of experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body to UNESCO, in an evaluation of the Palestinian motion, which the council published earlier this week. It comprises virtually all Israeli settlements and most of the West Bank's territory, but only 10 percent of its Palestinian population.

August 23, 1929, marked the beginning of two days of murderous rioting against the Jewish population of Hebron.

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Israel says the Hebron resolution - which refers to the city as "Islamic" - denies thousands of years of Jewish connection there. Many viewed Friday's UNESCO decision as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and its institutions, where Israel and its allies are outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

Israel refused to allow a team from UNESCO to visit Hebron ahead of the vote, with Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Sharma HaCohen saying that by refusing the team access for a field visit, Israel was taking a "principled and strategic" stand.

- 2009-2013: UNESCO adopted 46 (!) resolutions against Israel, compared to only 1 (!) against any other country (Syria).

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

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UNESCO's decision sparked a fiery response from Israeli leaders, who feel the organization is being used as a political tool in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian security sources said the 37-year-old victim, identified as Omar Ahmad Issa, was struck in the town of al-Khader, located 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) west of Bethlehem, at around 4 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) on Friday, while riding his motorcycle near a checkpoint leading to the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Unsurprisingly, the decision was welcomed by Palestinians.

The Jewish people's glorious history in Israel started in Hebron. "We intend on making sure that Hebron remains Jewish". It is the palestinian's latest attempt to erase Jewish history.

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Israeli and Palestinian rescue and security teams participated Wednesday in a joint drill simulating an emergency rescue exercise following a vehicle crash. More generally, it marked a week's worth of disturbances in British-controlled Palestine, in which Arabs attacked and killed their Jewish neighbors, with there being some attacks by Jews on Arabs.

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