US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley Scorns UNESCO Hebron Vote as ‘Affront to History’
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned as an “affront to history” Friday’s decision by UNESCO to classify the Tomb of the Patriarchs — an ancient Jewish holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron — as an “endangered Palestinian World Heritage site.”
“The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels,” Haley stated, after UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee passed the resolution by 12 votes to three, with six abstentions, during its annual meeting in the Polish city of Krakow. “It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful. And it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency.”
“Today’s vote does no one any good and causes much harm,” Haley declared.
In 2011, in compliance with statutory funding restrictions, the US stopped funding UNESCO after it admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member state. While America is still on the 58-member UNESCO Executive Board, it no longer has voting rights in the UNESCO General Conference.
US Jewish organizations continued to react to the decision with severe criticism of UNESCO on Friday.
“Today’s resolution on the Cave of the Patriarchs and Hebron disregarded the facts presented in a report by UNESCO’s own independent panel of experts and ignored their recommendation against adding them to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger at this time,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a joint statement. “By conducting the vote today in a secret ballot, the current chair of the committee and those member states who voted for the resolution clearly demonstrated they understood the shameful nature of their action.”