New Palestinian Attempt at UNESCO to Claim Hebron and the Patriarch's Tomb as a Palestinian Site

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The destruction of the Avraham Avinu Synagogue in Hebron in 1929 (Library of Congress)

  • From recent media reports, it is evident that the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize Israel, falsely adjust history, and abuse the international community by manipulating a respected international specialized agency is proceeding at an enhanced pace. The campaign has turned UNESCO into a partisan political tool beyond, exceeding, and ultra vires its own constitutional principles. This despite recent indications since the Abbas-Trump meetings of a relaxation on initiatives in the international community against Israel.
  • The latest example of this is the Palestinians’ request to register the Old City of Hebron – including its Tomb of the Patriarchs – to the “State of Palestine” at the upcoming meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, scheduled to take place from July 2 to 12, 2017, in Krakow, Poland. Both these sites are being fast-tracked and listed for debate as “endangered” World Heritage Sites on the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
  • This attempt by the Palestinian leadership runs counter to any claim by Palestinian representatives, as well as by leaders in the international community, that the Palestinians come with clean hands to the international community and genuinely seek a peaceful solution with Israel.
  • This exercise is utterly flawed in light of the following considerations:

    • It denies and misrepresents history by attempting to nullify any Jewish connection to Hebron and the Tomb of Abraham, and by falsely determining that they are Palestinian sites.
    • It constitutes a willful and cynical abuse of the bona fides of the international community and the professional stature of UNESCO as the major educational and cultural organization.
    • It runs contrary to the Palestinian commitments in the Oslo Accords, including the 1997 Hebron Protocol, to respect the agreed-upon arrangements for the joint governance of Hebron and shared worshipping in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

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