'Absurd attempt.' Rachel's Tomb
Photo: Eli Mandlebaum
'Palestinian escalation.' Ayalon
Photo: Dana Kopel

Deputy FM: Israel won't cooperate with UNESCO

Ayalon says world culture organization's call to remove Cave of Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb from list of Israel's national heritage sites 'part of Palestinian escalation in international organizations'

"Israel has no intention of cooperating with UNESCO," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the Knesset on Wednesday in response to the world culture organization's decision to characterize the site of Rachel's Tomb as a Muslim mosque.


"We should see the organization's call to remove the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb from the list of Israel's national sites as part of Palestinian escalation in international organizations," he said.


"Israel rejects all five of UNESCO's decisions and has no intention of cooperating with the organization," the deputy FM said, adding 'this is another attempt at de-legitimization by the Palestinian Authority."


"Decisions like this take us farther away from peace and understanding between our two nations."


Other rightist politicians, including Knesset members Arieh Eldad (National Union) and Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) also blasted the organization's decision.


Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to UNESCO's decision on Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of Patriarchs by saying that "the attempt to disconnect Israel and its heritage is absurd."


A statement released by Netanyahu's office said, "It is unfortunate that an organization established in order to promote historic heritage sites around the world is trying, for political reasons, to uproot the connection between Israel and its heritage."


UNESCO said Rachel's Tomb is located on the site of a mosque and asked Israel to remove it, as well as the Cave of Patriarchs, from its list of heritage sites.


Roni Sofer, Ronen Medzini and Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 11.03.10, 20:53
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