UN Declares Ancient Jewish Holy Site Is Now Palestinian

Posted July 10, 2017

Hebron's Old City is home to an ancient burial cave which is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians.

UNESCO voted 12 to three - with six abstentions - to give heritage status to Al-Khalil in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"They are trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region", Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Agence France-Presse.

The vote took place at the meeting Unesco annual summit, in Krakow, Poland, on Friday and was held as a secret ballot following a request from Israel, which believed that would mean countries were more likely to support its case. The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while entirely ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site.

The decision taken in Krakaw, Poland was based on a proposal by Palestinians to draw attention to the situation of the old historical sites that are at risk now. The two resolutions passed this week again reveal the Committee's politically driven disregard of historical facts, disdain for Jewish heritage and disrespect for its mission to preserve the world's cultural and religious heritage.

"They want to make sure that there will be an worldwide forum to monitor the situation in Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs that will prevent Israel from future transgressions or overstepping its current presence in the city", Reiter said.

Hebron is located in the West Bank, about 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem, and is home to roughly 215,000 Palestinians and hundreds of Israeli settlers, according to the United Nations.

Israel announced in May that it would withhold $1 million in its United Nations funding following the passage by UNESCO of a resolution that condemned the country's sovereignty in Jerusalem.

Ending his fiery speech to the committee immediately after the vote, Shama-HaCohen said he had to take a call from his "plumber", the Times of Israel reported.

After the vote, Elias Sanbar, the Palestinian Authority's representative at UNESCO, said that the resolution simply acknowledges that the mosque is in Palestinian territory.

The Ibrahimi Mosque has always been a flashpoint of Zionist colonial violence. "It represents an affront to history", Haley said in a statement.

"Hebron's Old City and holy site is under threat due to the irresponsible, illegal, and highly damaging actions of Israel, the occupying power, which maintains a regime of separation and discrimination in the city based on ethnic background and religion", the statement said. "We also call on the worldwide community to recognize the manipulation to which bodies like UNESCO are being subjected".

Generally, votes to inscribe sites onto UNESCO's World Heritage List are usually done by a show of hands among all the member states.

The inscription of Tomb of the Patriarchs to the World Heritage in Danger list was just the opening salvo in what will likely be a new battlefront in the Palestinian Authority's diplomatic war against the state of Israel.

The soldiers also abducted three Palestinians for "helping the workers in entering Israel without permits".