UNESCO concerned Israel's plans to annex West Bank Mosques

Hawkish Netanyahu announced that Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) and Bilal Mosque in Bethlehem to a list of 150 so-called Jewish heritage sites that would be renovated to reconnect Israelis to their history.

UNESCO concerned Israel's plans to annex West Bank Mosques

The United Nations' culture and education body said on Friday it was concerned about Israel's decision to place two historic mosques in the occupied West Bank to a list of alleged Jewish heritage sites.

Hawkish Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu announced that Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) and Bilal Mosque in Bethlehem to a list of 150 so-called Jewish heritage sites that would be renovated to reconnect Israelis to their history.

The two Muslim sites were not included in the original plan which was first presented by Netanyahu on February 3.

But under pressure from right-wing ministers, Netanyahu decided to add the two sites to the plan.

Built in 635 A.D., Ibrahimi Mosque is one of the first Muslim worship places in Palestine.

But Jewish extremists claim the two sites, known to Israelis as the Cave of the Patriachs and Rachel's Tomb, belong to historical Jewish heritage.

UNESCO said that Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her concern at the announcement and said, "that these sites are of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well”.

Seha said, that "cultural heritage should serve as a means for dialogue".

EU reaction

The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the Israeli decision could derail attempts to reopen peace talks.

Ashton said in a statement: "The High Representative regards the recent decision by the Government of Israel... as detrimental to attempts to relaunch peace negotiations. The European Union calls on Israel to refrain from provocative acts."

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also said Wednesday they were concerned about labelling certain Islamic historical artifacts as "Israeli cultural heritage" including those in the West Bank.

Turkish MFA made a call on Israel to act in accordance with international laws in Jerusalem and West Bank and seriously refrain from attempts that are one sided and provocative visa vis sacred sites and historical artifacts that are considered to be holy by Muslims.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on Thursday strongly condemned the " aggressive, provocative and irresponsible" Israeli action.

"The OIC Group stresses the illegality and illegitimacy of the Israeli government's decision and considers it as null and void and without any effect whatsoever," said the statement, issued at the ambassadorial level at the UN Headquarters.

Palestinians are calling the move an attempt to seize land and holy sites on Israeli-occupied land.



Agencies

Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2010, 19:25
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