Israel to cut $1 million from United Nations to build museum in Hebron

Posted July 08, 2017

The decision draws the world's attention to the situation in Hebron, which has sites that are holy for both Jews and Muslims.

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.

Israel has slammed a vote by UNESCO declaring the Old City of Hebron an endangered Palestinian World Heritage site, pledging to reduce its funding to the UN. Rula Maayah, the Palestinian minister of tourism, said it was a "historical development because it stressed that Hebron" and its historic mosque "historically belong to the Palestinian people". "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah - our patriarchs and matriarchs!"

The ambassador wasn't the only Israeli official angered by the United Nations agency's wording.

With this declaration, Tomb of the Patriarchs is now the third cultural site on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger that located in the State of Palestine.

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Israel's ambassador to UNESCO walked out of a session by the United Nations agency after learning that the Old City of Hebron had been referred to as Palestinian, not Israeli.

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

While the United States is still on UNESCO's 58-member Executive Board, it no longer has voting rights in its General Conference.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is an observer group at the vote in Krakow, in a statement Thursday called resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to heritage sites "greatest assault on Judaism since the Middle Ages".

UNESCO's decision sparked a fiery response from Israeli leaders, who feel the organization is being used as a political tool in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

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

On August 23, 1929, the Arabs attacked the Jews of Hebron along with numerous other Jewish communities.

Initial reports indicate that the Palestinian, identified as Omar Ahmad Issa, 37, was riding a motorcycle when he was struck by the Israeli auto in what appears to be a traffic accident.

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Subsequent to the resolution, Netanyahu called it in a Facebook posting "delusional" and said that "this time they determined that the Cave of the Machpela is Palestinian, meaning it is not Jewish".