World Bulletin / News Desk
UNESCO on Friday declared the Old City of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site in danger, sparking outrage from Israel which said the decision denied a Jewish claim to an ancient burial cave that is also sacred to Muslims.
The UN's cultural arm voted 12 to three -- with six abstentions -- to grant heritage status to the core of the ancient city in the occupied West Bank, which is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jewish settlers who live under heavy Israeli military protection.
"Just inscribed on @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List & World Heritage in Danger List: Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town," the organisation said on its official Twitter feed.
The vote drew a sharp denunciation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described it as "another delusional decision by UNESCO," while the United States announced it would review its ties with the agency.
"This time they ruled the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Palestinian site, meaning not a Jewish site, and that it is in danger," Netanyahu said incredulously, speaking in Hebrew in a video posted online.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley meanwhile termed the decision an "affront to history."
The US stopped funding UNESCO in 2011 after it admitted the Palestinians as a member-state, but it remains a member of the body's 58-member executive board.
Brought by the Palestinians, the resolution declared Hebron's Old City to be an area of outstanding universal value.
The resolution was fast-tracked on the basis that the site was under threat, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of an "alarming" number of violations, including vandalism and damage to property.
The Palestinian foreign ministry hailed Friday's decision a "success" for its diplomatic efforts that came "despite a frantic Israeli campaign spreading lies and distorting the facts about the Palestinian rights."
afpLast Mod: 08 Temmuz 2017, 15:04