UNESCO declares Hebron, West Bank, a world heritage site

Israel Has No Sovereignty over Jerusalem: UNESCO

A United Nations agency's designatation of Hebron's Old City in the occupied West Bank as a World Heritage site has been welcomed by Palestinians.

"They are trying to rewrite Jewish history and the history of the region", Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told Agence France-Presse.

"This irrelevant organisation promotes FAKE HISTORY".

The draft resolution passed in a secret ballot with 12 approving, 3 opposed and 6 abstentions.

It's a crying shame that Israel made no mention of the alarming number of violations that have taken place in this city where Arab homes have been vandalised and properties damaged by settlers.

Many viewed Friday's UNESCO decision as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and its institutions, where Israel and its allies are outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

Both the Old City and the mosque will now be added to UNESCO's World Heritage List and the World Heritage Committee will gather every year to discuss their status.

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"Hebron is a city in the heart of the State of Palestine that hosts a site invaluable to world heritage and holy to billions of people around the world of the three monotheistic religions".

Jews could now pray at the Western Wall for the first time in 19 years and at the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron for the first time in 701 years. It is home to some 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jewish settlers who live there in a heavily guarded enclave.

Photo A market in the old city of Hebron, which was designated as a World Heritage site in danger by Unesco on Friday. She would not comment on whether Hebron had been recognised as Palestinian, saying the exact wording would be decided later.

It was as secret vote at the behest of Poland, Jamaica and Croatia.

The Tomb of Patriarchs, also the Ibrahimi Mosque, is believed to be the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Another moment of intrigue saw Hacohen take the floor after the vote, only to keep being interrupted by his cell phone.

Site is also a stark symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Israel's national UNESCO committee, said after Friday's vote that "Israel will not resume its cooperation with UNESCO so long as it remains a political tool, rather than professional organization".

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

"Today's vote does no one any good and causes much harm", US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement after the vote.

Generally, votes to inscribe sites onto UNESCO's World Heritage List are usually done by a show of hands among all the member states.

In another contentious move, Unesco also approved China's request for special recognition for a vast, traditionally Tibetan region known as Hoh Xil or Kekexili, part of the high-altitude plateau in Qinghai Province roamed by nomads.

It is most likely that the journalist meant to relay that the site had been built on and modified over the centuries by whomever happened to be in control of the territory at the time. Israel says its guardianship of the site is sensitive to the sensibilities of all three faiths.

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