Israel Slammed For Dismantling $600K West Bank Solar Project

Saturday, 08 Jul, 2017

The proposal called Hebron a "Islamic" city, leading Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen to storm out of the session, denouncing the choice of language for downplaying the importance of Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs to the Jewish faith.

Unesco designated Hebron and the two adjoined shrines at its heart - the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Muslim Ibrahimi Mosque - a "Palestinian World Heritage Site in Danger".

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.

The UN's main cultural heritage body has voted to make the West Bank city of Hebron a world heritage site, a decision which has been praised by Palestinians but drawn outrage from the Israeli authorities for ignoring the city's Jewish history.

"They are trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region", he said.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) "anti-Semitic, politically biased and an embarrasement".

On May 3, an Israeli settler deliberately ran over an eight-year-old Palestinian child, identified as Laith Yousif Shatat, as the child was standing outside his school in the eastern part of Yatta city, located approximately 8 kilometers south of Hebron (al-Khalil). It comprises virtually all Israeli settlements and most of the West Bank's territory, but only 10 percent of its Palestinian population.

The United States has made an issue of UNESCO decisions in the past.

Hotovely further added "the same automatic majority would also have passed a resolution that the sun rises in the west and not in the east. Israel will not surrender to historic distortion and will continue the fight against the bias of United Nations institutions regarding Israel".

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative-leaning Israeli research group, said the Unesco designation ran contrary to the Palestinian commitments in the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s for the joint governance of Hebron and shared worship in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

While the USA is still on UNESCO's 58-member Executive Board, it no longer has voting rights in its General Conference.

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.

But for Israelis, the decision is one that favors Arab claims to the city over those of Jews.

The director of the Ibrahimi Mosque, Sheikh Hefzi Abu Zneneh hailed the decision. These are considered the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people.

In 1929, as a result of an Arab pogrom in which 67 Jews were murdered, the entire Jewish community fled the city, with Hebron becoming temporarily devoid of Jews.

The double cave, a mystery of thousands of years, was uncovered several years ago beneath the massive building, revealing artifacts from the Early Israelite Period (some 30 centuries ago).

"They have taken one of the foundational landmarks of Jewish history and have appropriated it as their own", he adds.