The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is appalled that Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) is seeking to have the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) register the Old City of Hebron, one of the four Jewish holy cites mentioned in the Bible and site of the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob –– the world’s oldest Jewish historical and religious site –– as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.
The ZOA is calling upon President Trump to withdraw the US from UNESCO and to cease negotiating efforts with the PA, which is clearly continuing the anti-peace policy of campaigning to delegitimize Israel and end the Jewish character of the land of Israel.
UNESCO, whose annual meeting is scheduled for July 1 in Krakow, Poland, passed resolutions in April 2016 and again in October 2016 which ignored historical Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem, referred to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Western Wall, the holiest and second holiest Jewish sites, by their Muslim names and rejected any Jewish legal or historical links to Jerusalem. The latter resolution also included clauses denying any Jewish connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.
The PA has been waging a campaign for years to have major Jewish sites and historical connections effaced or denied or replaced as purely Muslim sites. Thus, in 2012, the PA had Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity placed on the World Heritage List as part of a nonexistent ‘State of Palestine.’ In the case of Rachel’s Tomb, the PA has manufactured a completely false Muslim site out of what has always been a purely Jewish site. Since 1996, the PA has referred to Rachel’s Tomb as the Bilal ibn Rabah mosque, a name and mosque that had previously never existed at this location, nor claimed to exist by any Muslims, before that date.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are to be strongly criticized for this further, brazen, anti-peace act, seeking to have UNESCO pass a resolution containing new flat-earth falsehoods about the alleged non-Jewishness of Hebron and its ancient Jewish shrines.
“These were venerated Jewish shrines for centuries before the Muslim conquest in the seventh century. To declare that these are not Jewish sites, or that they are exclusively Muslim sites, is an absurdity and an obscenity.
The PA and its officials have a long record of denying Jewish history and religious connection to Jerusalem and is part of its Muslim supremacist campaign to deny the legitimacy and Jewish basis for the Jewish state of Israel.
“The Trump Administration has spoken out forcefully against the corruption of international organizations and vicious anti-Israel campaigns waged through them. It should, as it no doubt will, forcefully oppose this resolution. If it passes, President Trump should withdraw the US from UNESCO. He should also cease funding of Abbas’ PA $500 million in US aid and cease negotiating efforts with the PA as long as its campaign to lie about Jewish history and Israel’s legitimacy continues. The PA should not be permitted to wage war on Israel while receiving funding from the American taxpayer.”