UNESCO Declares Tomb of Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb Muslim Sites

Today’s Top Stories

1. UNESCO passed a resolution condemning Israeli aggression on the Temple Mount and recognizing the Tomb of the Patriarchs (in Hebron) and Rachel’s Tomb (between Bethlehem and Jerusalem) as Muslim sites.

The Palestinians were forced to back off efforts to declare the Western Wall a Muslim site when UNESCO chief, Irina Bokova, postponed a vote on that. More at the Jerusalem Post.

Tomb of the Patriarchs

Tomb of the Patriarchs

2. Our dear old pal, Seamus Milne, is taking a leave of absence from running The Guardian’s Comment is Free section to become Jeremy Corbyn’s communications chief, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Many in the UK Labor Party are concerned with Milne’s appointment because of his history of apologizing for terror. Among other things, Milne gave a byline to Osama Bin Laden in 2004, praised Iraqi resistance against British troops, and insisted that Israel had no right to defend itself against Palestinian terror.

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3. Prime Minister Netanyahu came under fire for asserting that Adolf Hitler didn’t plan to murder six million Jews, but that the suggestion came from the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The mufti’s anti-Semitism and support for the Nazi agenda is well-documented, but I’ve never heard anyone lay ownership for the Holocaust this squarely on Husseini.

The controversy comes just ahead of Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin, where German officials said responsibility for the Holocaust is “very much our own.” Bibi responded to the furor, saying:

“I didn’t mean to absolve Hitler from responsibility, but to show that the father of the Palestinian nation wanted to destroy the Jews even without territories, without occupation and without settlements,” the prime minister said.

Aside from all that, I was amused by the Holocaust-denying PLO’s reaction for simply acknowledging that it happened.

Grand Mufti and Hitler

Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler meeting in 1941.

4. New York Times Gets Judaism’s Holiest Site Wrong: HonestReporting secures the correction.

Israel and the Intifada

• Breaking news: Stabbing attack north of Jerusalem: an Israeli woman was seriously wounded; Palestinian attacker killed and another suspect was apprehended.

• Police officer lightly injured in suspected deliberate car-ramming attack near Ofra, between Jerusalem and Nablus.

• A 15-year-old Palestinian girl wielding a knife was shot and injured this morning trying to enter the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

• Two knife-wielding Palestinians who stabbed a soldier and attacked another in Hebron were shot and killed last night.

• Hundreds of Palestinians rioted near Rachel’s tomb.

• IDF arrests 47 in overnight West Bank sweep

Temple Mount

• Just wanted to tweak an otherwise decent Associated Press update on the latest developments. Regarding Palestinian claims that Israel wants to change the Temple Mount’s status quo, reporter Ian Deitch writes:

Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying it has no plans to change the status quo at the site, where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray. Israel has accused Palestinian leaders of incitement to violence over the site.


But Jewish visits to the site have doubled since 2010 and senior members of Netanyahu’s government have called for Jewish prayer rights, fueling Palestinian concerns about the site.

To say that the number of Jewish visits doubled doesn’t tell the full story, and certainly doesn’t lend any legitimacy to a month of stabbings, car-rammings, and shootings. An AFP report last month gave a fuller picture of the numbers. Whatever your feelings about Jewish visits to the holy site, the numbers are still a drop in the bucket:

About 10,900 Jews visited the flashpoint hilltop in 2014, according to Arnon Segal, an activist for the right of Jews to pray where their biblical temples are said to have stood.


In contrast, as many as nearly three million Muslims and 200,000 Christians go there each year, according to official Israeli data.


The number of Jewish visitors last year was double the figure of 2009, says Segal.

• The Washington Post takes a stab at the question, What drives the Palestinians who attack Jews with kitchen knives?

knives• In Israeli shops, knives get harder to find, while demand for guns goes up. NPR quotes some classic Israeli logic:

But one of Israel’s major grocery chains, Rami Levy, has pulled all the knives, plus kitchen scissors and pizza cutters, from the aisles. They are now stored at the service desk. Customers now have to ask for them.


Drori Levy, who works in the family business, says the reason is simple.


“We have a security guard at the door to prevent someone from getting in and attacking someone,” he says. “So why would we keep what an attacker would use here on the shelf?

• Years after sexual assault by Palestinians, an Israeli woman was granted status as a ‘terror victim.”

• Israeli officials continued speaking out. Ambassador Ron Dermer getting op-ed space in Politico on “10 deadly lies about Israel.” In an interview with the German daily paper, BILD (see summary in English at the European Jewish Press), Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom called on the EU to suspend aid money to the PA over Palestinian terror and incitement.


Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

• With Justin Trudeau’s election victory, Itamar Eichner looks at what Canada’s left-turn means for Ottawa-Jerusalem ties.

Senior diplomats predict that under Trudeau, the Canadian government might revert to a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the type that was in place before Harper’s time. Canada could well go back to placing responsibility on both sides of the conflict when it issues statements. It will no longer automatically vote with Israel at the UN and we are more likely to see them abstaining in key votes. We are also more likely to hear criticism of Israeli construction in the West Bank settlements . . .


Nonetheless, a source closely involved in Israel-Canada diplomacy said: “Israel has no cause for concern. We may see a change in nuance, but basically ties will remain excellent.”

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

Jay Michaelson: Israeli/Palestinian peace camp looks increasingly impotent
Ben-Dror Yemini: Must both sides exercise restraint
Jonathan Tobin: UNESCO and the end of US honor
Clifford May: Cutthroats of the Holy Land
Dan Margalit: What does Abbas want?


Image:  Tomb of the Patriarchs CC BY flickr/Grant Barclay; Temple Mount via YouTube/Eric Huntsman; knives CC BY-NC-ND flickr/Any.colour.you.like; Trudeau via YouTube/CBC News;


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.


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