'UNESCO Cannot Alter Our Connection to Holy Sites'

Israeli Foreign Ministry blasts UNESCO's decision to have Rachel's Tomb, Cave of the Patriarchs listed as Muslim sites.

Cynthia Blank ,

Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron
Flash 90

The Israeli Foreign Ministry rejected on Wednesday UNESCO's decision to pass a resolution listing the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as Muslim sites.

The resolution - which passed with 26 in favor, six against, and 25 abstentions - also condemns Israel for what it calls the “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”

"It's a ridiculous decision, which adds fuel to the fire that ignited the Palestinians," the ministry blasted. "This decision is another Palestinian attempt to distort history." 

"We saw the Palestinians' attitude toward holy places when they burned down Joseph's Tomb and now they are trying to continue with a dangerous incitement campaign."

The ministry stressed that "the Jewish people's connection to its holy places is profound and cannot be undone. Even UNESCO's decision does not alter that."

The World Jewish Congress also slammed the approval of the resolution, which was spearheaded by six Arab UNESCO members on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. 

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder charged that “the UNESCO Executive has given in to false claims and to radical, one-sided Palestinian demands. Alas, this will do nothing to calm the tensions in Jerusalem and the Holy Land – on the contrary.”

Lauder praised the six countries that voted against the resolution - United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia - for taking a “principled stand.”