UN Body Declares Tomb of Abraham a Palestinian Site

July 10, 2017

by: Ilse Posselt

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Tomb of Abraham in the Cave of the Patriarchs

Monday, 10 July 2017 | The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) believes that the Jewish people have no claim to the spot where Abraham, the father of the Jews, is buried. According to the cultural arm of the United Nations (UN), the resting place of patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah, is, in fact, a historical Palestinian site—one that requires protection from the offspring of the very people who are buried there.

UNESCO made this decision on Friday during the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow, Poland, when it passed an anti-Israel resolution to label Hebron “Islamic” and designate the Old City of Hebron, home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian heritage site in danger. This spot will now be inscribed on the committee’s List of World Heritage in Danger as a protected site in the “state of Palestine.”

Twelve of the 21 member states voted in favor of the resolution, while three nations opposed it. A further six countries abstained. This type of vote usually takes place by a show of hands, but three countries, namely Poland, Croatia and Jamaica, requested a secret ballot.

The resolution, which was proposed by the Palestinians, comprises two main clauses. The first hails the Old City of Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian heritage sites for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The second classifies these sites as being in danger. This means that UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will meet every year to discuss ways of protecting these spots from the supposed threats they face.

The vote caused international outrage almost as soon as it was cast.

“This attempt to sever the ties between Israel and Hebron is shameful and offensive, and eliminates UNESCO’s last remaining shred of credibility,” said Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. “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.”

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, echoed Danon’s outrage. “The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels,” she held. “It represents an affront to history…and it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency. Today’s vote does no one any good and causes much harm.”

Haley also vowed that the US would rethink its relationship with the world body because of the biased decision. “The United States is currently evaluating the appropriate level of its continued engagement at UNESCO.”

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UNESCO resolution “delusional.”

To prove Israel’s millennia-old ties to Hebron, the prime minister quoted from Genesis 23:16-19, which tells the story of the father of the Jews, Abraham purchasing a burial cave for his wife, Sarah. “And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants… And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre ( that is Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field, and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.”   

“The connection between the Jewish people and Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is one of purchase and of history which may be without parallel in the history of peoples,” Netanyahu said after reading the Scripture.

The prime minister added that in light of the vote, Israel would cut $1million from its membership fees to the UN. The funds, he said would instead be allocated to construct a Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People as well as additional heritage projects in Hebron.”

The Jewish connection to Hebron began some 3,800 years ago, when Abraham pitched his tents and purchased a plot of land there. The nearly four millennia since has seen an almost unbroken chain of Jewish presence in the ancient city. In biblical times, Hebron served as the capital city of Judah and the seat of King David’s reign for the first seven years of his kingship. Moreover, Hebron is the eternal resting place for the founding fathers, patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their wives, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah.

Friday’s vote is the second anti-Israel resolution that UNESCO passed in a week. Last Tuesday, the world body voted in favor of a motion that denies the Jewish state’s ties to the Old City of Jerusalem. Ten countries voted in favor of this resolution, while three opposed it. Eight nations chose to abstain.

Posted on July 10, 2017

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 10 July 2017 )

Photo Credit: Ericstoltz/wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia