UNESCO puts city of Hebron on its heritage in danger list – McClatchy Washington Bureau

UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, infuriated Israel on Friday as it voted to list the biblical West Bank city of Hebron, with its holy shrine sacred to both Jews and Muslims, as a world heritage site in danger.

Israeli officials complained that the agency described Hebron’s Old City as a “Palestinian heritage site,” prompting a walkout by Israel’s ambassador to the organization.

UNESCO spokeswoman Lucia Iglesias confirmed that on a Palestine motion, Hebron’s Old Town was put on the agency’s World Heritage list and on the list of heritage in danger. She would not comment on whether Hebron had been recognized as Palestinian, saying the exact wording would be decided later.

The secret vote of 12-3 with six abstentions drew angry reaction from Israel, whose ambassador to UNESCO left the session held in Krakow, Poland.

Rula Maayah, the Palestinian Minister of Tourism, said in a statement it was a “historical development because it stressed that Hebron” and its historic mosque “historically belong to the Palestinian people.”

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