UNESCO on Friday declared the old city of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site in danger, sparking outrage from Israel which said the decision denied a Jewish claim to an ancient burial cave that is also sacred to Muslims.
A United Nations agency's designatation of Hebron's Old City in the occupied West Bank as a World Heritage site has been welcomed by Palestinians. This irrelevant organization promotes fake history.
"Not a Jewish site?!" he asked sarcastically.
Drafted by Jordan and submitted by Kuwait, Tunisia and Lebanon, the resolution was passed by an open vote, after an attempt by the Polish chair to submit the document to a secret ballot - given the reluctance of some of the delegations to vote against an Arab-sponsored resolution in open session - was defeated in the face of Lebanese objections.
Israel has long accused the United Nations of inherent bias against it and there have been a number of disputes at UNESCO.
Another moment of intrigue saw Hacohen take the floor after the vote, only to keep being interrupted by his cell phone.
"Sorry. I have a very urgent. sorry, Mr. Chairman.it's my plumber in my apartment in Paris. There is a huge problem in my toilet", he eventually said. "There is a huge problem in my toilet and it is much more important than the decision you just adopted".
"My response to the resolution was spontaneous", Shama-Hacohen told The Washington Post on Sunday.
Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is home to at least 200,000 Palestinians and hundreds Israeli settlers. Jews could now pray at the Western Wall for the first time in 19 years and at the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron for the first time in 701 years.
The decision draws attention to the situation in Hebron, which has sites that are holy for Jews and Muslims.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967.
Rula Maayah, the Palestinian Minister of Tourism, said in a statement it was a "historical development because it stressed that Hebron" and its mosque "historically belong to the Palestinian people", AP reported.
The Ibrahimi Mosque has always been a flashpoint of Zionist colonial violence.
Both Biblical sites are the two holiest and the most historically ensconced in Judaism, but are precariously located from a geo-political standpoint.
Regardless of Israel's course of action, the decision was yet another symbolic victory for Palestinian self-determination.
Gheit also credited the Palestinian leadership and its diplomacy with the success, Afify said.
"We are calling on the worldwide community and the Trump administration t0 pull out of UNESCO completely".
The UNESCO resolution characterized the site as facing danger, which directly contradicts facts on the ground. A report it submitted to UNESCO said it could not fully justify listing Hebron as an endangered site but noted that the council had not completely carried out its mandate after failing to receive "the necessary permissions" from Israel to access Hebron.