US, Israel Furious Over UNESCO Heritage Designation

In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 file photo, Israeli border police stand guard on the site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the West Bank city of Hebron

Israeli police stand guard on the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the Palestinian city of Hebron. (AP Photo)

Both the US and Israel are reacting with outrage today and threatening to defund UNESCO, following the international body’s recognition that the Tomb of Patriarchs, in Israeli-occupied Hebron, is a World Heritage site, and one that is considered “in danger.”

The Tomb of Patriarchs, also the Ibrahimi Mosque, is believed to be the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It is considered the second holiest site in Judaism, and the fourth holiest in Islam.

The UNESCO ruling noted the repeated vandalism and property damage in the area, related to settlements.

Israel’s outrage at the ruling is because UNESCO described the mosque, which is a mosque, as an “Islamic” site, insisting that the matter amounts to “anti-Semitism,” and that Israel will never accept anything that doesn’t recognize Jewish claims to the site.

The US is mostly outraged because Israel is outraged, with Ambassador Nikki Haley describing the recognition of the mosque as Islamic as “an affront to history” and suggesting that the US might totally withdraw support for UNESCO in the future for hurting the peace process.


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