Sky News Misleads on Hebron Holy Site

Panchsheel Pact between India and China

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on Friday, July 7, declared that an ancient shrine in Israel-controlled West Bank was actually Palestinian.

While the Palestinians welcomed the action, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "another delusional decision by UNESCO".

The Palestinian foreign ministry called the decision made by UNESCO, despite the United States and Israeli opposition, a "success" for Palestinian diplomacy.

"Not a Jewish site?" he asked.

The ruling also puts Hebron on Unesco's "in danger" list, which allows for the allocation of immediate World Heritage Fund assistance and is created to alert the worldwide community to endangered sites. She would not elaborate, saying the exact wording would be decided later.

Rula Maayah, Palestinian minister of tourism, called it a "historical development because it stressed that Hebron" and its mosque "historically belong to the Palestinian people".

At the centre of the dispute is the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs. It was the latest chapter in Israel's rocky relations with UNESCO, which it accuses of making decisions out of political considerations.

Palestinians, who brought forward the proposition for Hebron to be named a "site in danger", have accused Israel of an "alarming" number of violations, including vandalism and damage to properties. Israel condemned the text, although it was much softer than similar resolutions passed in previous years.

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By today's vote, the committee failed to take into account its own expert advice, which opposed the Palestinian nomination for failing to properly recognize Hebron's Jewish and Christian heritage.

Khaled Qawasmi, an elected member of the Hebron City Council, said he hoped that the Hebron Municipality and the committee to rebuild Hebron would "take good care of this heritage and act in a unified way to ensure its preservation for future generations".

He said: 'The Jewish connection to Hebron goes back thousands of years.

Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman called the UNESCO vote "anti-Semitic". It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful.

"They are trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region", he said. While the United Nations has questioned the legality of subsequent Israeli policies in the West Bank, the act of coming into possession of those territories was never deemed illegal at the time. The Tomb is considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount. "When I mentioned that this site will be protected under the new classification, it also means UNESCO will not allow the Israelis to do whatever they want there".

Hebron has a long history of violence.

Emad Hamdan of the Palestinian Hebron Rehabilitation Committee told the assembly after Friday's vote, "We think we are shouldering the responsibility and you proved you are there to shoulder the responsibility".

That's the goal of at least one Palestinian leader. As Palestinians gathered to pray, Goldstein opened fire inside the compound, killing 29 people including children.

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