Arab envoy said to apologize to Israel for UNESCO decision

Israel Has No Sovereignty over Jerusalem: UNESCO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a UNESCO vote Friday declaring old Hebron an endangered world heritage site and announced a $1-million cut in funding to the United Nations.

Netanyahu explained that in wake of this resolution, he has made a decision to cut an additional $1 million from Israel's United Nations membership dues and transfer the funds to the establishment of "The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron".

Palestinians have long lived under harsh restrictions in the city, which is one of the starkest symbols of the Israeli occupation.

The heritage site in the city, which for Palestinians is often referred to as Khalil, is also thought to include Shuhadah Street, whose heritage Amro has been instrumental in defending.

Hebron's Old City has also been put on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites in danger.

The decision by the UN's cultural agency, at a meeting in Poland by secret ballot, saw 12 countries vote in favor, with three against and six abstentions.

"This is a historical development because it stressed that Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque historically belong to the Palestinian people", said Palestinian Minister of Tourism Rula Maayah.

"It is another delusional decision by UNESCO", Netanyahu said in Hebrew, in a video posted online. Hebron, the birthplace of King David's kingdom, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the first Jewish purchase in Israel and resting place of our forefathers - are our people's oldest heritage sites.

The resolution was passed, said Haley, "despite protests by the United States, Israel and other countries".


Hebron has witnessed much Jewish-Arab strife and bloodshed.

Khaled Qawasmi, an elected member of the Hebron City Council, said he hoped that the Hebron Municipality and the committee to rebuild Hebron would "take good care of this heritage and act in a unified way to ensure its preservation for future generations".

Israel rejected the idea, with foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon saying the Palestinians were "trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region".

Late past year, the organization also passed two resolutions denying Jewish claims to Jerusalem, just as archaeologists uncovered even more evidence of the centuries-old Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

An unidentified Arab ambassador to the UN's peak scientific and education body meant to support Israel in a hotly contested vote on Hebron Friday, according to screenshots published by the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper.

For most of the year, the holy site's prayer area is divided into separate halls for Jewish and Muslim worshipers, with separate entrances and each side administered by its own religious authority.

Ma'ayah said the decision would improve Palestinians' morale.

Site is also a stark symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 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.

In 1994, Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims praying at the site, killing 29, before being beaten to death by survivors.

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