On Friday July 7th, the United Nations ran a vote on the West Bank town of Hebron to determine whether it was a historical heritage site for Israel or Palestine. The vote was against Israel 12-3 and six abstentions, declaring the town of Hebron a Palestinian heritage site. Historically, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is the world’s longest military occupation in modern times.
Palestinians argue that the site is part of their heritage because many Muslim patriarchs and monarchs are buried there, this is also the argument Israeli’s have for keeping the land on their side.
UNESCO, United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization, argued that it is a Palestinian site, making it a non-Jewish site. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was outraged by this, stating that prophets like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried there and it is a Jewish heritage site.
Netanyahu also pointed out that areas around the Middle East are under war due to religious extremists, and that Hebron was the one place left where you could be assured that freedom of religion for all could be found. This may change drastically under Palestinian rule, but only time will tell.
While there is religious freedom in Hebron, there is still controversy between those who dwell there. Between 170,000 Palestinians, and 400,000 Israeli’s, there is much to be said about the settlers who might be coming into that area. Netanyahu says that these issues, along with UNESCO’s vote to make Hebron a Palestinian heritage site, will be discussed in upcoming negotiations.
Netanyahu believes this was an ignorant decision by UNESCO. United States ambassador, Nikki Haley, believes the vote causes harm, and will further damage trust between Israel and Palestinian nations. Without this trust, peace agreements and discussions may not move along smoothly, or come to pass anytime soon.
During fall of last year, UNESCO allowed one of the Jewish holy cities to only be called by its Islamic name. This caused Netanyahu to quit cooperating with UNESCO until they were more professional, in his view, rather than political. Israelis believe that UNESCO has ignored their fight to regain Holy Lands in Jerusalem, and elsewhere in order to uphold Palestinian’s fight to regain their Holy Lands.
Israel and Palestine have never agreed, but there is evidence that the contentions are boiling again. Hebron has always had contentions, but recent years show that Israel and Palestine are not afraid to fight back. About 251 Palestinians and under 100 Israelis died at Hebron. Both sides believe the violence stems from a different root, whether it be social media hype, or previous years of fighting over land, each state has their own belief about what is in that land.
The fight will never cease, or so it seems. Further updates will be made on this topic, including Israel and Palestinian peace agreements. Follow the stories here at Mod3rn Media Magazine for future updates.