Friday 28 July 2017

Unesco puts West Bank city of Hebron on heritage in danger list

Israeli border police stand guard in the West Bank city of Hebron (AP)
Israeli border police stand guard in the West Bank city of Hebron (AP)

The Unesco World Heritage committee has put the West Bank city of Hebron's Old Town on its list of world heritage in danger, drawing outrage from Israel.

The decision was taken in Krakow, Poland, on a proposal from the Palestinian side.

Israel said the decision's wording ignored its historic links to the city, and the Israeli ambassador to Unesco left the session.

The secret vote was 12-3 with six abstentions.

The decision draws attention to the situation in Hebron, which has sites that are holy for Jews and Muslims. It also obliges the World Heritage committee to review its situation every year.

Naftali Bennett, Israel's education minister, said in a statement: "Jewish ties to Hebron are stronger than the disgraceful Unesco vote."

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

The Palestinians hailed the decision.

Rula Maayah, the Palestinian minister of tourism, said in a statement it was a "historical development because it stressed that Hebron" and its historic mosque "historically belong to the Palestinian people".

AP

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