UNESCO has voted to recognise Hebron’s Old City and the Ibrahimi Mosque as Palestinian heritage sites despite diplomatic pressures by the US and Israel to recruit the support of enough member states to vote against the move.
In a secret ballot, 12 countries voted in favour of the move whilst three voted against it and six abstained.
The resolution was brought forward by Jordan and included two main clauses: the first states that Hebron’s Old City and the Ibrahimi Mosque are Palestinian heritage sites and should be registered as such in UNESCO’s World Heritage List; and the second asserts that the two sites are to be recognised as being in danger which would force UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to convene to discuss their case.
Efforts by the US included the American Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, sending a letter to two senior UN officials asking them to oppose the Palestinian effort.
Last week, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni urged UNESCO to vote against the proposal saying: “These decisions will not harm my people’s connection to [Jerusalem and Hebron], but they will hurt UNESCO and the ability to promote common interests.”