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UNESCO Declares Hebron's Old City a Palestinian World Heritage Site

UNESCO Declares Hebron's Old City a Palestinian World Heritage Site

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Friday declared the Old City of Hebron an endangered world heritage site, sparking outrage from Israel in a new spat with the Palestinians at the global body.

Mr. Netanyahu's office said Israel would further reduce the membership fees it pays to the United Nations by $1 million a year and would use the funds to establish a Jewish People's heritage museum in Hebron.

"Not a Jewish site?!" he asked sarcastically.

Iglesias declined to comment on whether Hebron had been recognized as Palestinian, saying the exact wording would be decided at a later time.

UNESCO took the decision at a meeting in Krakow, Poland to declare Hebron and the two adjoined shrines at its heart - the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Muslim Ibrahimi Mosque - as Palestinian.

"This attempt to sever the ties between Israel and Hebron is shameful and offensive, and eliminates UNESCO's last remaining shred of credibility", he said, according to the Times of Israel.

Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, also heads Israel's national Unesco committee.

Following a massacre carried out against Muslim worshippers in Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, Israel divided it into two parts; one for Muslims and one for Jews.

When the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee thanked the World Heritage Committee, it did not mention the word Jewish or Christian in connection with Hebron or the Tomb of the Patriarchs. "Only in places Israel is present in, like Hebron, are religious freedoms for all, promised". Does UNESCO not believe that the Bible is heritage?

"On the information available to us, numerous charges against Mr. Amro appear to be directed squarely at his lawful right to peacefully protest against the 50-year-old Israeli occupation", said the Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, in a joint statement. His gravesite became a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists, with a plaque reading, "To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel".

In addition, the soldiers also confiscated 53 permits, carried by Palestinian workers who already obtained authorization from the Israeli side.

"The city of Hebron is an open archive of history, it's so important to protect these sites, which are under threat from the Israeli occupation", he said.

But Alaa Shahin, from the Palestinian Hebron municipality, told AFP before the vote it could help encourage tourism.

"As an afterthought, I probably brought dishonor to my toilet by comparing it to this decision", Shama-Hacohen said.

Arabs massacred 69 Jews there in 1929.

In 1994, an American Jew named Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinians praying at the site, killing 29 before being beaten to death by survivors. At issue, however, is less the question of one more Palestinian victory toward statehood, but rather world recognition of Jewish history irrespective of geo-political boundaries.



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