Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Breitbart, by Deborah Danon, July 4, 2017:
TEL AVIV – U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called on the secretary-general of the UN and the UNESCO chief to oppose the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to inscribe Hebron’s old city and the Tomb of the Patriarchs on its list of endangered sites under the “State of Palestine.”
“The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to three faiths, is under no immediate threat. Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have,” Haley wrote in a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
A vote on the motion is scheduled for Friday during the World Heritage Committee’s meeting in Krakow, Poland. The Palestinian Authority sped up the process with claims of “Israeli violations… including vandalism” at the site.
“Many precious sites — from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Libya to Iraq to Syria — are under real and imminent threat of destruction today. They urgently demand UNESCO’s full and immediate attention, which should not be wasted on this sort of symbolic action,” Haley wrote in her letter.
“As the United States is engaged in trying to increase the chances of a peace deal that is in the best interest of both Israelis and Palestinians, this effort at UNESCO… is particularly ill-timed and unfortunate,” Haley continued. “I hope you will join the United States in opposing this measure.”
UNESCO has come under fire by Israel, the US and other nations for a series of moves deemed anti-Israel, most recently in May, when its executive board ratified a resolution denying any Jewish legal or historical Israeli links to Jerusalem and calling Israel an “occupying power” in its own capital.
That resolution also criticized the Israeli government for archaeological projects in the capital and in Hebron and lambasted its naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Guterres, considered more sympathetic to Israel than his predecessors, is slated to visit the Jewish state next month. He has been critical of efforts to politicize UNESCO. Bokovo, who will end her term as the agency’s director-general later this year, also has spoken out in the past against anti-Israel resolutions that deny the Jewish people’s link to religious sites in the Holy Land.
Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, thanked Haley for her support.
“Ambassador Nikki Haley’s letter speaks for itself about the absurdity that is the persecution of the Jewish state in every international forum and especially at UNESCO,” he said. “Unfortunately, no new US ambassador to UNESCO has yet been appointed, and if only we had on our side here an ambassador who had the determination and the courage of Nikki Haley, the conditions of our battle would be entirely different.”
Last week, Israel banned a fact-finding mission from entering Hebron ahead of the vote.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to grant permits to a group of scholars from the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
A few days later, Israel’s mission to the UN petitioned UNESCO to conduct a secret ballot for the vote.
Deborah Weiss facebook post:
“In the midst of all the chatter about irrelevant tweets, one thing that has gotten lost is the hidden gem, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Now, she might have been bland as a governor, but boy is she kicking butt at the UN! I listened to a good portion of her testimony in front of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, held June 28th by my good friend, Chairman Ed Royce. And this is what I can tell you about Ambassador Haley:
1) She is working to get rid of “Agenda Item 7” at the UN Human Rights Council. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a STRUCTURAL PERMANENT AGENDA ITEM specifically pertaining to ISRAEL ONLY, used as one of the many mechanisms used at the UN to penalize, bash and unfairly criticize Israel. Her goal is to get rid of it by 2021 and she is working with the “highest levels” of the US government to get this done;
2) She has made it CLEAR in regard to the SHAMEFUL UN RESOLUTION 2334, which was INITIATED BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, and which CONDEMNED the Israeli settlements in a way that made this territory considered “occupied” rather than “disputed”, made it easier for the EU to use BDS product labels, and made it easier to boycott companies that do business there, that though this resolution cannot be REPEALED, that there is a new sheriff in town, that the US DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS, that it is “a thorn in our side”, that is SHOULD NEVER BE MENTIONED, and that THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN;
3) that the UN CAN NO LONGER TAKE US FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR GRANTED forward looking, that it must be earned and put to good use;
4) that we must STIMULATE GENUINE ELECTIONS on the UN Human Rights Council, rather than have the countries listed on the ballots a priori, so that the elections aren’t “real”;
5) that Money to the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SHOULD BE BASED ON THEM STOPPING THEIR “PAY FOR SLAY” Martyrdom program (where they pay the families of suicide bombers, encouraging and supporting this behavior), rather than the way we determine pay currently, which is by the percent of time that the PA votes with the US at the UN;
6) When the Ambassador was challenged/lambasted by a Democrat Congressman on US “leadership”, trying to cite our “lack of leadership” on the Paris Climate Change Accord and also citing a Pew Poll (because we learned how accurate polls are during the presidential election), and complaining that Haley isn’t addressing “Russian interference in our election” at the UN; HALEY DID A BANG UP JOB! She’s NOT MEALY MOUTHED and she TAKES NO GUFF!
She correctly stated that: a) The US has to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the US and that the Climate Accord was not because it would chase away jobs and lose business for America; b) that our refusal to be part of the Paris Accord does NOT mean we will abandon our commitment to be good stewards for the environment; c) that she doesn’t know what kind of coffee he’s drinking but in her experience at the UN, all the countries have a new respect for America: they know we’re here, we’re back, we’re strong and we’re heard, (and she invited him to visit the UN to see for himself); and d) regarding Russia, she said she does believe that Russia has tried to run interference in our election, that she has told this to the President, that she has stated it publicly, and that the President has never told her to refrain from making any comments on Russia, but that the UN deals with international issues and that since this is a domestic issue, never once has anyone at the UN asked her about it.
7) when grilled about various comments that the Congressman thought the President should have made, Haley replied, “Sir, I work for the President. Any thing I say or do, he supports. We are on the same team.” The testimony is too long to listen to all of it (7 hours), but you might want to google C-Span’s link and listen to 30 minutes or so of her opening statement and the Q&A. The jerk who tried to give her a hard time is Congressman Meeks from NY,
8) She is also working hard to fight against the anti-Israel BDS movement, being a STAUNCH ALLY of ISRAEL, in STARK CONTRAST to the prior Administration. Nikki Haley is AMAZING! GO NIKKI!”