´Jesus’ Birthplace in Danger.´ Not! (ISRAEL HAYOM) UN Watch 06/10/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Under intense pressure by the PLO and its allies, the upcoming
meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, to be held in St.
Petersburg, Russia, from June 24 to July 6, is liable to find that
the “Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the
Pilgrimage route, Bethlehem” is under urgent danger and worthy of
special U.N. protection, a declaration that could only further
inflame the region.
What news reports fail to mention, however, is that the PLO’s
submission — its first nomination to the World Heritage List since
UNESCO voted to admit “Palestine” as a member in October 2011 — has
been completely rejected by the professional body charged with
evaluating country applications.
In its submission, the PLO claims that “the Israeli occupation,”
which is “hampering the supply of appropriate materials,” creates
an “emergency situation” that needs to be addressed by “an emergency
Yet a comprehensive investigation and report by the International
Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) — a Paris-based entity that
advises the World Heritage Committee on which nominated properties to
list — said the very opposite:
“[T]he Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route in Bethlehem,
Palestine should not be inscribed on the World Heritage List on an
emergency basis ... ICOMOS does not consider that the conditions
required by paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines are fully
met, concerning damage or serious and specific dangers to the Church
of the Nativity that make its condition an emergency that needs to be
addressed by the World Heritage Committee with immediate action
necessary for the survival of the property.”
ICOMOS also found that, contrary to the Palestinian submission now
before the UNESCO committee, the Church of the Nativity was
neither “severely damaged,” nor “under imminent threat”.
There was no “immediate action … necessary for the survival of the
property”. Despite the Palestinian claims, Israel was not found to be
a major obstacle to the preservation of the Church of the Nativity.
In fact, the report pointed out that the church’s roof — said to be
at greatest risk — was repaired “most recently in 1990, when works
were implemented by the Israeli military authorities.”
Accordingly, ICOMOS suggested that the Palestinian
Authority “resubmit the nomination in accordance with normal
procedures for nomination.”
The expert evaluation is public and known. Yet does anyone expect the
21-nation UNESCO committee — which includes such great promoters of
human rights and culture as Algeria, Cambodia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mali,
Qatar, Russia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates — to rule based
on objective findings?
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY