U.S. reviews ties with UNESCO over Hebron decision

U.S. reviews ties with UNESCO over Hebron decision

Leader of the Opposition in the Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Shabbir Ali today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed a diplomatic blunder by not visiting Palestine during his three-day stay in Israel. Not a Jewish site?!

The resolution agreed by the committee also lists the old city and the religious site as being "in danger", meaning the world heritage committee will discuss the area's status annually.

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

Israel's president Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin also harshly criticized the decision, stating: "The decision by UNESCO proves once again that this is a body determined to continue spreading anti-Jewish lies while remaining silent as the region's heritage is being erased by brutal extremists".

Adding to the historical sensitivities and outrage, the World Heritage Committee is convening in Krakow, Poland, leading some Israelis to connect the Unesco vote to a desecration of the memory of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

The decision follows a spate of other recent outrageous resolutions passed by UNESCO, including another only this week, again denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

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.

Although the move itself wasn't deemed controversial by Tel Aviv, the decision to describe Hebron as a "Palestinian heritage site" infuriated Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, who walked out of the session in protest.

The US had argued that the Tomb of the Patriarchs was "under no immediate threat" and that adding it to the list of sites in danger "risked undermining the seriousness such an assessment by Unesco should have".

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon slammed the decision. And in 2012, the United Nations General Assembly chose to upgrade the status of Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations.

"It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful", she said. "We intend on making sure that Hebron remains Jewish". In 1929, Arabs killed 67 Jews in a rampage still seared into Israeli minds.

A general view of the West Bank city of Hebron with the Cave of the Patriarchs, on January 18, 2017.

The few hundred Israelis live closed off in several small settlements most of the world considers illegal, with Palestinians largely banned from entering and using nearby streets. As Palestinians gathered to pray, Goldstein opened fire inside the compound, killing 29 people including children.

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