UNESCO Vote Rewards Palestinian Lies and Terrorists — and Endangers Peace
Even by UN standards, the actions taken at UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, was diplomatic theater at its most absurd.
With Muslim and Christian holy sites being blown to smithereens across Iraq and Syria, ethnic and religious cleansing taking place there, and the rise of ISIS leading to death and destruction in the region, UNESCO chose instead to focus on the non-existent threat posed by Israeli control over the Cave of Patriarchs.
In a move that would have left George Orwell scratching his head, the committee voted to erase Jewish history, demean the Bible and register the Old City of Hebron and Cave of Patriarchs to the non-existent “State of Palestine.” In a semi-secret ballot, 12 countries voted in favor, three voted against and six abstained. The Cave of the Patriarchs, whose purchase by Abraham is recorded in Bible, is considered to be Judaism’s second holiest site, and Islam’s fourth.
Understandably, Israelis and Jews around the world reacted with outrage to the vote. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, donned a yarmulke to read the passage in Genesis that details our Patriarch Abraham’s negotiations and payment for the Cave, where he would soon bury his beloved Sarah. All other patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people (except for Rachel, who is buried in nearby Bethlehem) are buried at this hallowed site.
Instead of safeguarding a 3,500 year-long legacy, UNESCO desecrated and endangered Ma’arat Hamachpelah (the Hebrew term for the site). US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley denounced the move as “an affront to history.”
Another outrage came when the German ambassador decided to join with the Cuban ambassador’s request for a moment of silence for Palestinian “victims” after a moment of silence for the six million Jews exterminated by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. The incensed Israeli ambassador confronted the diplomat directly, demanding to know if the German Ambassador was equating Anne Frank to Palestinian youngsters who stabbed innocent Israeli civilians? If the was expecting an apology, it never came.
Could it get any worse?
Actually yes, much worse.
Someone who witnessed the UNESCO vote in Poland was the newly-elected mayor of Hebron, the city with the largest population controlled by the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. Mayor Tayseer Abu Sneineh, Fatah’s local candidate in 2017, had a different title back in May of 1980. He was part a terrorist cell that murdered six Israeli Yeshiva students and wounded another 16, as the students danced and prayed their way from Beit Hadassah on a Sabbath eve. They were ambushed as they approached the very same Cave of the Patriarchs.
All four terrorists, sentenced to life in Israeli prison, were released in various prisoner exchange deals in the 1980s.
Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), in announcing Abu Sneineh’s candidacy, described the terror attack as “one of the most important battles and acts of bravery of the Fatah Movement” and “one of the most courageous self-sacrifice operations.” Fatah furthermore praised the killers as “heroes” and men “of delicate emotions.” Abu Sneineh joined the PA in the 1990s, serving in the ministry entrusted with guarding holy places.
And now the UNESCO vote tells Palestinians and Israeli alike that terrorism by Palestinians against Israelis will be rewarded.
Without a doubt, mass murderer Abu Sneineh must feel vindicated. After his election, he was asked if he felt remorse for those killings: “All of us in Fatah fought for our national rights, and international law allows us to resist the occupation by all means,” Abu Sneineh declared.
With the Hebron “victory” in his back pocket, PA President Mahmoud Abbas rushed to Cairo to counter “diplomatic” moves by his rival, Hamas. During his visit with the head of the Arab League, Abbas asserted that he supported anti-terrorist moves and backed a two-state solution.
And why shouldn’t Abbas continue his lies and doublespeak. The international community doesn’t demand accountability for the PA’s deeds — including bestowing hero status upon terrorists like Abu Sneineh — nor transparency for how it spends its $4 billion+ per year budget.
Indeed, Abbas bristles at the demands now enshrined in bills pending in both the US Congress and Israel’s Knesset that he stop rewarding terrorists and their families based on the number of Jews that each terrorist kills.
The EU, human rights NGOs and many churches and peace activists give a wink and a nod to Palestinian terrorism.
The new UNESCO vote has gone even further, rewarding Palestinian lies, murderers and diplomatic deceit.
It comes just as there are signs that President Trump may soon be launching a new Mideast peace initiative. Job one for the US team is to reject Abbas’ duplicitous doublespeak. Instead, the US should demand a fundamental change in Palestinian behavior. Without such change, a peaceful two-state solution will remain a distant mirage.