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UNESCO declares Old City of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site
08 July 2017, 12:36 | Kara Nash
Ahead Of New Vote, UNESCO's Website Acknowledges Jewish History of Hebron
Photo A market in the old city of Hebron, which was designated as a World Heritage site in danger by Unesco on Friday. But three countries - Poland, Croatia and Jamaica - requested a secret ballot, The Times of Israelreported Friday.
Hebron, former capital city of Israel's King David, site of the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Maarat HaMachpelah), and location of the 1929 Massacre, when the Arabs murdered the Jewish residents of the Hebron and ended thousands of years of Jewish life in the ancient Jewish city.
Netanyahu expressed outrage that UNESCO determined the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron "is a Palestinian site, meaning not Jewish, and that the site is in danger".
Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, also heads Israel's national UNESCO Committee. "Not a "Jewish" site?!" he added, listing the biblical figures said to be buried there.
Palestinians successfully argued Israel's settlement activity in Hebron, particularly by its military, threatened the city's cultural status.
For example, the UN Human Rights Council regularly votes to condemn Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights but rarely criticises the Syrian regime for killing civilians a few miles away.
The Palestinian motion states that "since 1967, the impact of settlers, (there are two Israeli settlements in the property),[caused] further destruction of buildings and the development of new urban areas in the periphery of the town". "Hebron's Old City and holy site is under threat due to the irresponsible, illegal, and highly damaging actions of Israel, the occupying Power, which maintains a regime of separation and discrimination in the city based on ethnic background and religion".
After a UNESCO resolution in early May that denied Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, Netanyahu also ordered a $1 million cut in Israel's annual United Nations dues.
She would not comment on whether Hebron had been recognized as Palestinian, saying the exact wording would be decided later. And in 2012, the United Nations General Assembly chose to upgrade the status of Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations.
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called that "another delusional Unesco decision" and ordered that $1 million (€877,000) be diverted from Israel's United Nations funding to establish a museum and other projects covering Jewish heritage in Hebron.
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