(UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution in a stormy session to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank, inscribed as a Palestinian world heritage site in danger. Twelve countries voted in favor of the move, while three opposed it. Six countries abstained.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs, revered as the Biblical burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, is now the third cultural site on UNESCO’s “List of World Heritage in Danger” that is registered as located in the “State of Palestine.” The other two are the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem and the “cultural landscape of Southern Jerusalem,” around Battir.
Israel says the Hebron resolution which refers to the city as “Islamic”- denies thousands of years of Jewish connection there. “They are trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region” an Israeli spokesperson said.
Israel had been working behind the scenes against the resolution, with the help of the American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who has called on UNESCO’s focus and attention to not be “wasted on this sort of symbolic action.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement welcomed the vote and called it “historic justice”. It is “another reflection of the international position which opposes Israeli policy, and of our position which rejects recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation.”
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