Israel Slammed For Dismantling $600K West Bank Solar Project

Kristopher Drake
July 8, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday slammed a UNESCO vote declaring the Old City of Hebron an endangered world heritage site, calling it a "delusional decision".

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. But three countries Poland, Croatia and Jamaica requested a secret ballot.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs - also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque - is revered by Jews, Muslim and Christians as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's burial place.

Amid heated scenes, Israel's Unesco ambassador Carmel Shama-Hacohen reportedly stormed to the desk of the session's chairman after the vote, and accused the committee of not conducting a truly secret ballot.

'This time they ruled the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a Palestinian site, meaning not a Jewish site, and it is in danger'.

It is "disappointing and embarrassing to see UNESCO denying history and distorting reality time after time to knowingly serve those who try to wipe the Jewish state off the map", Bennett added.

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

"The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels".

Israeli authorities have issued building permits for over 1,500 settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, the European Union said.

Palestinians argued successfully that Israeli actions in Hebron - in particular by the Israeli military - threatened the Hebron's cultural heritage.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon dismissed the UNESCO decision, saying, "This attempt to sever the ties between Israel and Hebron is shameful and offensive, and eliminates UNESCO's last remaining shred of credibility".

Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is home to at least 200,000 Palestinians and hundreds Israeli settlers. He said that the decisions of this "irrelevant" organization will not harm the country's right and expressed hope that the United States will stop funding UNESCO. Although their rocky relationship goes back decades, recent resolutions by UNESCO also drew outrage in Israel for diminishing the deep Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The decision was celebrated by Palestinians and campaigners who saw it as a stepping stone on the path to giving the Territories full statehood.

But for Israelis, the decision is one that favors Arab claims to the city over those of Jews.

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".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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