UNESCO’s Hebron Resolution Denounces Israel Heritage

Jul 10, 2017

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee passed a resolution last Friday which declares that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Palestinian heritage site. Twelve of the World Heritage Committee's 21 member states voted in favor of the resolution, three opposed it and six abstained.

The Hebron resolution, debated as part of the committee's 41st annual summit in Krakow, Poland, names the Tomb of the Patriarchs as the third cultural site on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger that is in the "State of Palestine." The other two are the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem and the "cultural landscape of southern Jerusalem, Battir." The Palestinians submitted the Hebron motion via an expedited procedure, claiming that the area was “threatened” and that Israel was “vandalizing” the site. The committee will convene each year to discuss them.

The resolution refers to Hebron as "Islamic" and denies thousands of years of Jewish history as well as Christian ties to the site. The biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, as well as the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are believed to be buried there as documented in Genesis, chapter 23.

As a result of UNESCO’s recent resolution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to cut an additional $1 million from Israel's U.N. membership dues. Netanyahu will transfer the funds to the establishment of the Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron as well as additional heritage initiatives related to the city. Following UNESCO's resolution in May criticizing Israeli policy in Jerusalem and Gaza, Netanyahu announced that he will slash U.N. funding by $1 million. In April, in response to a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution against the settlements, Netanyahu cut the fees by $2 million.

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