Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP), and its more than 40,000 Palestian-American members, I am writing to urge you to reconsider the U.S.’s resolution to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Your decision to remove our government’s longstanding partnership with UNESCO because of their declaration in citing the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) and the Cave of Patriarchs as Palestinian World Heritage Sites is in contradiction of the actual history.
UNESCO’s decision to name these landmarks historical sites is based solely on their location in the occupied Palestinian territories agreed upon by the U.S. as well as Israel. The proposal submitted by the state of Palestine noted that the Cave of the Patriarchs is sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Like other decisions by UNESCO, the committee responsible for the designation of the World Heritage Sites did not deviate from its usual practice, i.e., it designated Hebron and the Cave of Patriarchs as Palestinian World Heritage sites in accordance to the cave and Hebron’s locations.
We believe that Israel’s efforts to seize control of these Palestinian heritage sites and antiquities in the occupied territories is in violation of U.S. and international law. The continuation and annexation of land in Palestine is not only harmful to the Palestinian people, but creates insecurity for Israel.
As a country who prides itself on freedom and self-determination, the unequivocal support of Israel’s illegal policies in the occupied territories are against American values.
As Americans of Palestinian heritage, we take issue with our government’s decision to assist Israel in erasing our history and existence in our homeland.
We implore you to reconsider your decision to withdraw from this important UNESCO designation and conform to the historic criteria set by the UNESCO’s committee on World Heritage Sites.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Hanna Hanania, DDS
American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine