The United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO recognized Hebron’s Old City and the Ibrahimi Mosque as endangered Palestinian heritage sites on Friday.
The World Heritage Committee, UNESCO passed the resolution at its 41st session with a secret ballot.
Twelve states backed up the resolution while three others voted against it, while six states abstained during the voting to include the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank (the burial place of Prophet Ibrahim),
Palestinian Tourism Minister Rila Maayaa announced that Palestine succeeded in registering the city of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque on the World Heritage List of UNESCO after the members of the World Heritage Committee decided to vote on the city’s inclusion, at the meeting held in the Polish city of Karakov.
The Old City of Hebron became the fourth Palestinian cultural property on the list of “global heritage” after Jerusalem (the old town and its walls), Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the path of pilgrims.)
“The importance of this historic event is that it emphasizes the identity of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque, that it belongs to its heritage and history of the Palestinian people,” said the minister of tourism and archeology.
The city of Hebron is one of the oldest cities still inhabited in the world, and extends its history to more than 6,000 years. It is the fourth holiest city of Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
Ibrahimi Mosque is one of the most important cultural icons , which gave the city its distinctive status and made it a religious destination for believers and Arab and foreign travelers.
Israel said it condemned UNESCO’s decision to include Hebron on the World Heritage List.
A request to list the site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List was filed by the Palestinians six years ago to protect it against violations.
The Old City is home to the Ibrahimi Mosque revered by both Muslims and Jews as the burial place of Prophets Ibrahim, Isaac, Jacob and their wives.
The Palestinians hailed theUNESCO decision to add the heart of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron to the endangered world heritage list, but Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu called it “delusional”.
“This vote is a success for the diplomatic battle fought by Palestine on all fronts, in the face of Israeli and American pressure on member-states,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said.
The heritage status was granted to the Old City in the center of Hebron, where a few hundred Jewish settlers live under heavy Israeli military protection in the midst of more than 200,000 Palestinians.
The YESHA council, which represents settlers across the occupied West Bank, called the resolution anti-Semitic.
“Hebron is Judaism’s second holiest site, denying 4,000 years of Jewish history is pure anti-Semitism,” it said in a statement.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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