Friday, July 7, 2017

Israel says UNESCO Hebron vote "shameful"

Israel on Friday slammed as "shameful" a resolution by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to declare the West Bank's old city of Hebron a World Heritage site in danger.

The vote, held in Krakow, Poland, endorsed a proposal brought by the Palestinians.

Twelve countries voted in favor of the resolution, three opposed, and six countries abstained.

The result triggered angry reactions by the Israeli representatives and the Israeli ambassador to UNESCO who left the session as a protesting move, according to local media reports.

Emmanuel Nahshon, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the move was "a moral blot," accusing UNESCO of promoting "fake history."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted that "UNESCO seems intent on sprouting anti-Jewish lies, while it remains silent as the region's heritage is destroyed by brutal extremists."

The resolution put Hebron's old city on the UNESCO's list of protected zones, declaring it an area of outstanding universal value.

The move seeks to draw international attention to the situation in Hebron, where sites holy to both Jews and Muslims are located. The focal point of the decision is a site revered by Muslims as Ibrahimi Mosque and by Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, is home to some 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jewish settlers who live there in a heavily guarded enclave.

Israel seized Hebron, together with the rest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, during the 1967 Middle East War, and has controlled these territories ever since despite international criticism.

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