UNESCO Recognizes Hebron Sites as Part of Palestine

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Following this morning's (Friday) decision by UNESCO to designate the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site has sparked great outrage in Israel throughout its political system.

Twelve countries voted in favor of the move to inscribe Hebron's Old City, including the Tomb, as an endangered heritage site, while three opposed it. Three member states instead voted against and six abstained.

UNESCO's ruling on the city which includes a holy site for both Jews and Muslims - known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs to the former and the Ibrahimi mosque to the latter - enraged Israelis who see it as evidence of the body's anti-Israel bias.

The UNESCO resolution had been pushed hard by the Palestinians, who succeeded not only in getting Hebron declared a Palestinian heritage site, but also in getting the UN body to declare that Israel's occupation was placing it in danger. "To disassociate Israel from the burial grounds of the patriarchs and matriarchs of our nation is an ugly display of discrimination, and an act of aggression against the Jewish people".

Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, also heads Israel's national UNESCO Committee.

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They had also claimed that the Indian troops had crossed the border, which basically is territory under contention. The decision was conveyed to the batch of journalists by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi .

Jewish tradition claims that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, are buried at the site.

Israel has accused UNESCO of making a politically motivated move, part of what it says is an attempt to deny the Jewish character and heritage of certain key sites in the Holy Land.

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 elaborate, saying the exact wording would be decided later.

Palestine was recognised as a full member of Unesco in 2011 despite intense opposition from Israel and the US. A shouting match reportedly broke out between the ambassador and the Palestinian and Lebanese envoys over the issue, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. Late a year ago, the organization also passed two resolutions denying Jewish claims to Jerusalem, just as archaeologists uncovered even more evidence of the centuries-old Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

It has been a flashpoint for decades, with several hundred Jewish settlers living in enclaves nearby, surrounded by some 200,000 Palestinians. In 1929, Arabs killed 67 Jews in a rampage still seared into Israeli minds.