UNESCO concern over Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb

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Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, has expressed concern at the announcement by the Israeli Prime Minister that two sites located in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, are to be included in an Israeli National Heritage Programme, fearing a resulting escalation of tension in the area.

Endorsing the statement by Robert H. Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, that these sites are “of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well”, the Director-General reiterated UNESCO’s conviction that cultural heritage should serve as a means for dialogue. UNESCO is mandated by its Member States to provide assistance to the Palestinian Authority in the fields of education and culture.

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