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UNESCO

  • There's nothing anti-Semitic about UNESCO's Hebron vote

    Israel's leaders are essentially trying to convince the world that anyone who recognizes Palestine is anti-Semitic. UNESCO's resolution to recognize the Tomb of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Tomb and Hebron's Old City as Palestinian World Heritage Sites brought on, as expected, knee-jerk cries of anti-Semitism by Israeli politicians. And it wasn't just the right wingers. Even Labor's Merav Michaeli, known for her dovish views, called the resolution "insane." [tmwinpost] I wonder how many of these politicians bothered reading the resolution before they ran to Twitter to trash it. As opposed to what Israel is attempting to portray, UNESCO does not comment on…

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  • Hebron is the next Israeli-Palestinian fight at UNESCO

    From a Palestinian point of view, Hebron's sanctity to the Jewish people does not negate the Palestinians' right to promote their political rights and sovereignty over the world heritage site. By Yonathan Mizrachi In recent years, every time UNESCO convenes to discuss world heritage sites, Israel-Palestine is in the limelight.  Usually, tensions center around the Old City of Jerusalem, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger in 1982. Recently, however, the Israeli Foreign Ministry began a campaign against the Palestinian nomination of the city of Hebron as a World Heritage Site. Though Hebron is not Jerusalem, Israel's claims to…

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  • Israel spars with the world at UNESCO

    The latest bout between Israel and UNESCO suggests that the world is warming up to Israel’s conflation of the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Jerusalem with its claim to exclusive sovereignty over the city. By Talya Ezrahi and Yonathan Mizrachi Israel’s success at UNESCO this week was a diplomatic coup. In a work of crafty diplomacy, Israel succeeded in undermining an agreement between the Arab states and 11 EU countries which softened the wording of a resolution that it believes disputes its claims to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we are told that as a result of heavy pressure by Netanyahu and the Foreign…

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  • The Left should stop bickering and support Obama's abstention

    Everyone knew that abstention from the Security Council's anti-settlement resolution was one of the more realistic options on a very limited menu. So why is the Left now up in arms? U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power barely got the word “abstain” out of her mouth before the liberal left ripped into the decision with a thousand knives. Wait, what? The U.S. abstention allowed the Security Council to pass Resolution 2334 by 14-0. The statement calls on Israel to halt to settlement activity, viewed as a mortal threat to the two-state solution, the signature policy of the left…

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  • UNESCO's mistake on Jerusalem

    The resolution was yet another shallow attack on identity elements, the same type I reject every time Israel does it to Palestinians. It was also a setback to the kind of UN action that could actually move the bar in a region that desperately needs it. UNESCO has made a startlingly bad move in voting to affirm “Item 25,” a hodgepodge of condemnations and calls for Israel to stop policies that harm religious or cultural sites in Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza. On Jerusalem, the text conspicuously referred to the holiest site by its Muslim name only: Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, pointedly…

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  • Let’s talk about what UNESCO resolution does say instead of what it doesn’t

    The absence of an affirmation of Judaism's connection to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is being exploited to distract from Israeli violations of the status quo, and restrictions on Muslim-Palestinian access to the holy site. By Tom Pessah Anti-Semitism, for Netanyahu and much of the Israeli and Jewish press, is clickbait. Mention it and you can all but guarantee almost automatic outrage. Just like advertisers can avoid talking about why a car is expensive by using sexual imagery or even the word “sex” to sell it, the Israeli government can dodge difficult questions about its policy by “anti-Semitizing” those who raise these…

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  • WATCH: Omitting the Palestinian history of Israel's heritage

    In 2014 UNESCO declared Beit Guvrin and its Caves of Maresha, one of the most important places in the Kingdom of Judah during the time of the First Temple, World Heritage Site. UNESCO notes every era tied to the site including the Persian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine etc. However, the rich history of Palestinian life that existed at Beit Guvrin is completely omitted from UNESCO's description.

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  • Israel's top court gives temporary reprieve to Palestinian UNESCO site

    In rare move, Israeli Nature and Parks authority supported the petition against the wall; the court's decision largely hangs on Defense Ministry admitting the contested section of wall isn't a priority. Israel will not build a section of the separation barrier through the UNESCO recognized village of Battir in the West Bank anytime soon. Israel’s High Court of Justice on Sunday dismissed without prejudice a petition against construction of the section of the West Bank barrier’s route that would pass through the village’s ancient agricultural terraces. The decision was largely based on the Israeli Defense Ministry’s assertions that constructing the…

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  • Settlements as punishment prove Palestinian lives are bargaining chip

    By using settlements as a punitive response to Palestinian political actions, Israel proves they come at the direct expense of Palestinian statehood, and that it holds all the power in this conflict. Here we go again. Palestinians do something Israel doesn't approve of, and Israel retaliates by using its unchecked power and leverage to block the possibility of a Palestinian state ever becoming a reality. By announcing the advancement of about 3,300 settlement units on Thursday, as a retaliatory measure that it unabashedly admits is punishment for the formation of the temporary Palestinian unity government, Israel is proving that settlements…

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  • Shalom, tower. A visit to Tel Aviv's historic skyscraper

    In the innocent year of 1909, a new Jewish neighborhood was established on the outskirts of Jaffa. A modest crossing of two streets, it was designed according to distinctly secular Jewish values. At its focal point, just north of the intersection stood not a synagogue but a high school. It was an elaborate, romantic structure. Its facade featured two columns representing Boaz and Yachin, the pillars of Solomon's Temple. Jewish culture had always centered around education, and the Zionist founders of Tel Aviv believed that so would the new Jewish society they were helping to establish. Fast forward 50 years, and…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 12: Where do we go from here?

    Ten years have passed since Israel started building the wall, probably the largest and most expensive construction project in its history, which does not seem to be going anywhere. For four months now I've been presenting its story, and now it is time to offer some breaking updates, look into the future, and conclude. The final chapter of the series. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills This was supposed to be a four part mini-project for the week of Passover. However, as work progressed, interview followed interview, and the tours along the wall's route unraveled new stories, and as the…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on: part 9 / Dividing land - water, fauna, flora

    UNESCO is set to discuss the dangers facing Jerusalem's eco-systems, a new UNRWA report elaborates the harm caused to water sources and flora throughout the West Bank, and environmental NGOs warn of the impending extinction of several species – these are the wall's effects on mother nature. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills An event of somewhat historic proportions is about to take place in Saint Petersburg in the coming days: for the first time ever, the annual UNESCO convention is to discuss a request to recognize a world heritage site that was put forward by the Palestinian Authority, which…

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  • Replacing the peace narrative with discussion of rights

    Non-violent methods being used by Palestinians and their international supporters are helping to reframe the conflict from a discussion of peace vs. violence, into a struggle for rights under Israeli occupation. Next week, a group of young Palestinians will board Israeli settler buses in the West Bank with the intention of traveling to East Jerusalem. The activists will likely be greeted by fully armed Israeli settlers, as well as soldiers. The threat of Israeli violence has not deterred Palestinians who maintain that they are prepared to pay a price to highlight Israel’s segregationist policies in the West Bank. While not officially…

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