United Nations to Israel: Drop Charges against Palestinian Hebron Activist

Jonathan Hernandez
July 10, 2017

The old market of the divided West Bank city of Hebron, seen on July 7.

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.

It was not incidental that Israel's Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama HaCohen mentioned the Holocaust at the Krakow meeting, which took place in a country where so many Jews were killed in concentration camps in World War II.

The resolution was fast-tracked on the basis that the site was under threat, with Palestinians accusing Israel of an "alarming" number of violations, including vandalism and damage to properties.

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

The tomb has traded hands many times over the centuries, variously under the control of the Romans, Arab rulers, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, and the British.

Hebron's Old City is home to about 800 Israeli settlers, who move about freely under army protection, while thousands of Palestinians are subjected to harsh military rule, roadblocks and checkpoints.

ICOMOS opposed the Palestinian nomination, noting that it failed to highlight the "association of the wider town of Hebron with Jewish and Christian as well as Islamic culture... even though extensive remains testify to these links". Several hundred ultranationalist settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the city, amid about 170,000 Palestinians.

Netanyahu also in a statement said he would cut $1 million from Israel's contribution to the overall United Nations budget and dedicate it to "Jewish Heritage Projects in Hebron and Kiryat Arba", a nearby Jewish settlement.

The vote passed 12-3, with six abstentions.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold the Cave of the Patriarchs to be sacred, as it is believed to be home to the bones of the biblical figure Abraham and members of his family, according to the Book of Genesis.

Another moment of intrigue saw Hacohen take the floor after the vote, only to keep being interrupted by his cell phone.

"And it's much [more] important than the decision that you just adopted".

The Unesco ruling on the city - which includes a holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque and Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs - comes despite furious efforts by Israel to derail the proposal.

The resolution that was approved made no mention of the problems with the Palestinian Authority's application that the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) detailed in its report.

Israel is already struggling to prevent the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Institution from erasing Jewish ties to Jerusalem's Old City and the Temple Mount.

Hebron has a long history of violence.

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 site is in danger?"

"The connection between the Jewish People and Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is one of purchase and of history which may be without parallel in the history of peoples". Israel says the future of the settlements also must be decided through talks.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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