News Worms
News Worms


Netanyahu slams UNESCO Hebron vote, cuts funding

Netanyahu slams UNESCO Hebron vote, cuts funding

Israel seized the West Bank including Hebron in 1967 in a move never recognised by the global community.

The Palestinian West Bank city of Hebron was declared a world heritage site in danger by the UN's cultural body on Friday.

UNESCO will be required to annually evaluate the situation in the old city, where a few hundred Jewish settlers live under heavy Israeli military protection in the midst of more than 200,000 Palestinians.

In a series of Twitter posts, Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, accused Unesco of spreading fake history and claimed Jewish people's history started in Hebron.

Israel strongly rejects Palestinian claims it is trying to change the status quo in either Hebron or in Jerusalem's Old City.

The Palestinians hailed UNESCO's decision as a boost for their strategy of a "diplomatic Intifada", or uprising, persuading the global community that the Palestinians require their own sovereign state in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

In May Israel reacted furiously after UNESCO passed a separate resolution on Jerusalem (Al-Quds), and has recently prevented UNESCO researchers from visiting Hebron.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also harshly condemned the resolution, calling it "tragic" and an "affront to history," and vowed that Washington would review its ties with UNESCO as a result of the decision.

Hebron is also a stark symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian gunmen killed six settlers on their way home from prayers in 1980, and three years later, members of the Jewish Underground gunned down students at the Islamic College in Hebron, killing three.

The move makes Hebron's old city the third Palestinian world heritage site.

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

There was another moment of intrigue when Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, took the floor after the vote but kept being interrupted by his cell phone.

Israeli police stand guard on the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

But Alaa Shahin, from the Palestinian Hebron municipality, said the vote could help encourage tourism.

The Ibrahimi Mosque has always been a flashpoint of Zionist colonial violence. 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".

She added that the vote "does no one any good and causes much harm".

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

"We are calling on the worldwide community and the Trump administration t0 pull out of UNESCO completely". "When I mentioned that this site will be protected under the new classification, it also means UNESCO will not allow the Israelis to do whatever they want there". Israel says its guardianship of the site is sensitive to the sensibilities of all three faiths.

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