Ahead of UNESCO vote on Hebron, Israel bars fact-finding mission from city

Israel on Friday denied a fact-finding mission entry to the West Bank city of Hebron ahead of a Palestinian effort to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs inscribed on a UN list of threatened sites.

A group of independent scholars from the International Council on Monuments and Sites had been trying to gain access to the disputed holy site since the Palestinian Authority announced in April its plan to have it added to UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to grant them the required permits.

“On a strategic and principled level, the State of Israel will not take part in and will not legitimize any Palestinian political move under the guise of culture and heritage,” said Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen.
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