The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted in a secret ballot Friday passing a resolution which claims the Old City of Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a “Palestinian World Heritage Site”.
The anti-Israel resolution passed despite Israel’s lobbying efforts, a reported twelve states voting in favor and only three opposing and six abstaining. Croatia, Jamaica and Poland requested the vote be taken by secret ballot.
The Palestinian Authority responded, its Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki stating on the resolution that it is a “success for a diplomatic battle fought by Palestine on all fronts, in the face of the Israeli and American pressure on the member states,” referring to the Trump Administration’s call for UNESCO to cancel the vote on Hebron.
Last week, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called on UNESCO to cancel the vote, emphasizing that the site is not under threat, stating “The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to three faiths, is in no immediate threat. Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have.”
Also last week, Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO called on the vote to not take place, assuring Israel’s democracy and freedom of worship for Muslims at holy sites. The ambassador stated “Israel respects Muslim sensibilities and ensures freedom of worship, order, security, routine maintenance, and the development of infrastructure supporting the holy sites.”
It is the second attack on Israel by the United Nations this week, UNESCO voting an additional resolution claiming Israel has no sovereignty over its capital, Jerusalem, on Wednesday. The proposal also condemns Israel’s archeological excavations in Jerusalem’s Old City as “illegal”.
Both proposals were submitted to UNESCO by Arab states on behalf of the Palestinians.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded firmly to the resolution, stating “No resolution from this irrelevant organization can hurt our thousands of years old historical right over the Cave of the Patriarchs, or our right over Israel. This decision also proves, once more, that the Palestinian Authority is not looking for peace, but rather to incitement against and besmirching of Israel in the world.”
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, July 7, 2017, and reposted with permission.