US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley on Friday sent a letter to two senior UN officials urging them to opposed a UNESCO proposal that would add Hebron city, southern West Bank, as a “World Heritage Site in Danger,” and dictates that it is located in the “State of Palestine.”
Haley sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, where she says that the “Tomb of the Patriarchs is sacred to three faiths” and that the timing of the proposal is “ill-timed and unfortunate,” coming as the United States is trying to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together for a peace deal.
Haley adds that there are many heritage sites around the world “under real and imminent threat of destruction” and that these should be protected instead of UNESCO’s attention being “wasted” on the “symbolic action” on Hebron.
Haley concludes by expressing the hope that the officials will join the United States in opposing the measure.
The vote that is expected to be held on Friday, comes on request from the PA due to “alarming details about the Israeli violations in Al-Khalil/ Hebron, including the continuous acts of vandalism, property damage, and other attacks.”
Israel refused to allow a team from UNESCO to visit Hebron ahead of the vote, with Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Sharma HaCohen saying that by refusing the team access for a field visit, Israel was taking a “principled and strategic” stand.
Hebron city is one of the biggest Palestinian cities that encounters occupation and ongoing settlement expansion strangling the city.