web analytics
October 6, 2015 / 23 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO’

Hamas Bulldozes UN Heritage Site for Terrorist Training Grounds

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Hamas has plowed over a 3,000-year-old harbor, designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage site, and has covered it with sand to prepare more training grounds for terrorists.

The terrorist organization explained that there is nothing wrong with plowing over history if it is good for the cause of the “resistance,” – read “terror and the end of Zionism.”

Hamas already has expertise in destroying buildings and land that can be used for the benefit of the local population.

In 2005, the Israeli government – the Sharon Chelm government – expelled 9,000 Jews from Gaza and withdrew every IDF soldier from Gaza in order to ensure that Hamas would no longer have any reason to attack Israelis. Since they never did have a reason in the first place, there was no logic in expecting Hamas to become civil. That is now history for future generations to ponder.

With the help of such saintly institutions as the World Bank, Israel agreed to leave standing the greenhouses, where Gaza Arabs earned a living, so that the Palestinian Authority could help the local agriculture blossom by using Israeli  technology already in place.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction at that time was in the same political bed as Hamas. After the expulsion, the PA regime destroyed the greenhouses and turned them into its own kind of future heritage site where men, women and children could learn to be martyrs and be prepared for 72 virgins.

Nearly eight years have passed, and the so-called military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has now bulldozed a part of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea to expand its training zone, journalist and former human rights researcher Abeer Ayyoub wrote for Al Monitor.

Here is what UNESCO says about the Heritage site, designated as such only last year after the location was discovered in 1997, uncovering mosaic floors with historical pillars from the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ages.

“Anthedon is the first known seaport of Gaza, mentioned in Islamic literature with the names of Tida…The city was inhabited from 800 BC to 1100 AD…

“The acropolis of Anthedon shows archaeological remains dated from the late Iron Age II, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods….

“The excavated site is about 20 dunam [5 acres] and consists of a 65-meter [213-foot] long mud-brick wall, formerly of the old commercial city center, which was part of the eastern extension of the harbor, and other earthen works…

“Anthedon represents a clear example among the seaports along the Eastern Mediterranean coast, demarcating the ancient trade route that linked Europe with the Levant during Phoenician, Roman, and Hellenistic periods…. The presence of massive earthen structure in the proximity of the sea as well as the rich underwater heritage, still to be explored, make Anthedon an excellent site for nomination to the World Heritage list.”

Its official designation as a Heritage site gave Hamas a wonderful opportunity to promote tourism, but things don’t work so logically in a terrorist regime.

In typical Orwellian language, the Tourism Ministry has stated it will not allow harm to monuments but that “the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land” due to the rising population.

And then there is the truth.

Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela told Al-Monitor that the location was taken for military use and not demographic purposes.

“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly [sic] used without harming it at all,” Khela explained.

No harm will come to it – but.

Since Hamas needs money for the “resistance,” it does not have funds for excavation, so the solution of covering it with sand was really for the protection of the site.

The blame, of course, is UNESCO, according to Hamas. After all, it was the United Nations body that declared the harbor a Heritage site in the first place, and it obviously is the responsibility of the United Nations to do the preservation work so that Hamas can keep its mind on the resistance.

Hamas, like its rival Fatah faction headed by Abbas, is used to being on the world’s welfare rolls, but UNESCO explained to the Tourism Ministry it is not a funding agency.

U.S. Envoy: Syria ‘Not Fit to Sit’ on UN Rights Committee

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

U.S. Ambassador David T. Killion spoke out as UNESCO’s human rights committee which was assembled in Paris this week to rule on individual human rights complaints—with Syria’s Assad regime as one of its 30 judges.

The Geneva-based watchdog group UN Watch congratulated Ambassador Killion and urged UNESCO to finally expel Assad from the panel.

“It is indefensible for the Syrian regime to be allowed to stand as a judge of other countries’ human rights records,” said Ambassador Killion in response to a question by UN Watch, which heads a global campaign of more than 50 parliamentarians, human rights and religious groups calling for Syria’s expulsion.

In a statement on Thursday, UN Watch called on France, Germany, the UK, the EU and the UN to speak out and take action to remove Syria from the UN committee.

“Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad as a global judge of human rights is like appointing a pyromaniac to be a firefighter,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “UNESCO is allowing the Assad regime to strut in Paris as a UN human rights arbiter. That’s immoral, indefensible, and an insult to Syria’s victims.”

House Foreign Affairs Comm Chair: ‘No Money, No Political Support for PA’

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), firmly denounced  the decision made the United Nations General Assembly to elevate the status of  “Palestine” (the Palestine Liberation Organization) to non-member observer state at the UN.

In a statement issued on the day of the vote, Nov 29, Cong. Ros-Lehtinen said that Mahmoud Abbas is not a partner for peace and that his action at the U.N. will “push peace with Israel even further away.”

The Florida Congresswoman said that the decision by Abbas to ignore the U.S.’s strongly-worded and repeatedly given advice that he not attempt to achieve unilateral goals through the U.N. rather than through negotiations with Israel, made “crystal clear” that Abbas and his compatriots “do not value their relationship with the U.S.”

In addition to withholding all U.S. funds for “Palestine” the committee chair also intends to pull U.S. funding for any U.N. agencies that grant membership to “Palestine,” as is required under U.S. law.

Cong. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus also issued a statement through email denouncing the U.N. shenanigans.  He said that the action taken by Abbas could, “inflame tensions in the region and ultimately hurt their efforts to achieve statehood and a lasting peace.”

Lamborn also called for the cutting off of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority as the result of its effort to gain statehood outside of direct negotiations with Israel.” 

Although the U.S. administration strongly opposed and voted against this measure at the U.N., Ros-Lehtinen also included a warning to the U.S. administration in her statement.

She said, “if the Administration again seeks to gut U.S. law and keep funding those reckless UN agencies, Congress’ response must be simple: No.”

Last year Abbas sought to gain full United Nations membership through the UN Security Council.  That gambit was rebuffed by a threat by the U.S. to veto any such motion.  However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization went ahead and recognized “Palestine” as a UNESCO state member.  As a result of that decision, and in compliance with U.S. law, Congress cut UNESCO’s funding. However, after heavy congressional lobbying by the administration, the funding was restored in late April of this year through the implementation of a waiver.

Russia Scuttles Anti-Israel Resolutions at UNESCO

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In a rare instance of breaking step with the Arab world, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) caused the organization to defer condemning Israel in a series of votes on Wednesday.

Five resolutions proposed by the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and Syria were scuttled by Russia, which presented a plan to delay the resolutions for 6 months in order to send a UN fact-finding team.  The plan passed, with France the only European country to vote against.

The resolutions accuse Israel of trying to change the character of Jerusalem by conducting archaeological digs without the approval of former occupying country Jordan, allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, allowing Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, neglecting education in Gaza, and alleged mistreatment of the Druze residents of the Golan.

UNESCO considers the entire Old City of Jerusalem and its surrounding walls as a world heritage site.

The Palestinians Reveal the Jewish Connection to Palestine

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The Palestinians have inadvertently contributed to the truth of the historic relationship of Jews with the land of Israel.

How?  By asking the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO to recognize Battir, a village about 5 miles west of Bethlehem, as a World Heritage Site and add it to the 936 sites already maintained by UNESCO.  Unwittingly, the Palestinians have given the world the opportunity to learn about a historic relationship.

The Palestinians in October 2011 were granted full membership in UNESCO, which they hoped would lead to international recognition of a state of Palestine.  As a consequence of this membership, they are a party to the proceedings of the WHC, which has 21 changing members, presently including Russia, Qatar, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates, but not including the United States or Britain.

The request regarding the recognition of Battir is connected with the Palestinian’s more ambitious claim to be accorded by UNESCO the heritage over the basilica of the Church of the Nativity, regarded as the birthplace of Jesus, and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem.  Already, UNESCO has designated two Jewish sacred sites — Rachel’s Tomb, the burial place of the matriarch Rachel, the wife of Jacob, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron — not as Jewish holy sites, but as mosques.  Only the United States voted against this proposal that was approved by 44 of the 58 members of the board of UNESCO.

The claim made by the Palestinians for Battir to be recognized as a Heritage Site is ostensibly based on its unusual topography of historic terraces and its Roman irrigation system.  The Palestinian Authority (PA) asserts that that it is a “historically sensitive area … where a millenary irrigation system is still in use to water the vegetable gardens of Battir.”  The village, which has grown in recent years to a population of 4,000, does have seven natural springs, an old Roman bath, and an irrigation system that waters fruit and vegetables.

However, the reason for the Palestinian request is more political than aesthetic.  The PA argues that Israel is planning to build part of its security fence through the valley and that it will damage a site that it claims, in accordance with the UNESCO operational guidelines concerning the acceptance of World Heritage Sites, is “representative of a culture.”

The Palestinian complaint is that the Israeli fence will deny the ability of the residents to enjoy their natural heritage and sustain the land.  The village, they argue, should be maintained as a landmark of Palestinian and humanitarian heritage.  The complaint has gone to the Israeli Supreme Court, which will adjudicate the question of the exact route of the fence, whether it should be rerouted, and whether the route is in accordance with Israeli security considerations.

All will almost certainly acknowledge the pleasant nature of the village and its picturesque character.  Yet the Palestinians’ ambitious claim is deficient in a number of ways.  Though the Roman irrigation system is historically interesting, in fact, the village gets most of its water from the West Bank Water Department, the public water network established in 1980.  The village has grown substantially since then, and the natural heritage there is threatened more by increased housing development than by any Israeli action.  Moreover, pretty though the area might be, it does not meet the objective requirements of UNESCO — namely, that a Heritage Site be a place of beauty, of importance, and of outstanding universal value.

But most important, the Palestinians have unwittingly drawn attention to the historic Jewish relationship with and claim to the land of Palestine.  The original name of Battir was Betar, the last fortress of Bar Kochba (son of a star) in his revolt against the Romans in 132-135.  The revolt led to the creation of an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for over two years before being crushed by the Roman army of six legions.  The result was the killing of thousands of Jews — perhaps half a million — and the loss of Israeli independence and of Jewish religious and political authority.  The Romans did not allow the Jews to bury their dead in Betar.

A Jewish entity was not again the center of religious, cultural, and political life until the 20th century, but Betar remained an important symbolic reminder of the Jewish past.  The Revisionist Zionist youth movement, formed in 1923 by Vladimir Jabotinsky, took its name from the fortress.  The movement played a role in fighting against Nazi Germany in World War II.  Interestingly, Jabotinsky’s main political opponent, David Ben Gurion, is said by some to have taken his Hebrew name from one of the generals who fought in Betar.

When Rules Don’t Count, Anything Goes

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

UNESCO proved once again that UN rules mean nothing if they get in the way of furthering an anti-Israel agenda.

It will be recalled that last October, an overwhelming majority of UNESCO members voted to recognized “Palestine” as the organization’s 195th member despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority did not, by any measure, meet the established standards for statehood. Last week, UNESCO again broke its own rules and indulged the Palestinians by accepting a Palestinian bid to list the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and to have it located in “Palestine.” The PA is nominally in control of day-to-day governance in Bethlehem but Israel remains in overall authority as to who and what goes in and out.

This prompted a statement by Hanan Ashwari, who leads the PLO Department of Culture and Information, applauding the development as “a welcome recognition by the international community of our historical and cultural rights in this land.”

Further, not only were the rules for statehood again ignored by the “Palestine” reference, but the church was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, which UNESCO’s technical and administrative staff advised was wholly inappropriate, since it in no way met the operative standard of “imminent danger.” And while UNESCO fictively attributed the “danger” to damage from water leaks, Palestinian officials spun the listing that the site itself is endangered by Israel.

Thus, Ms. Ashwari said in a statement that the UNESCO decision

emphasizes that Israel must be bound by international law and treaties, particularly pertaining to its illegal and detrimental measures as a belligerent occupant and as a major threat to the safety and the responsible preservation of that important segment of human civilization in Palestine.

Palestinian officials briefing reporters also claimed the UNESCO action represented a vote in favor of self-determination and cultural rights for the Palestinian people.

Predictably, the PA is now saying that following its UNESCO success respecting the Church of the Nativity it will seek to have additional religious West Bank sites recognized by UNESCO as endangered World Heritage sites. And given past experience, they will be successful. Regrettably, these obvious farces have gained legitimacy in the anything-goes universe of anti-Israel activism.

Carmel Caves Voted a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

On the heels of UNESCO’s decision last week to name the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as “Palestine’s” first World Heritage Site, the UN body voted to list the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nahal Me’arot (the Carmel Caves), located on the western slopes of Mount Carmel in northern Israel, are a group of prehistoric caves where early man lived continuously for hundreds of thousands of years. The caves were first excavated in the 1920s and 1930s; tools, animal bones, and human burials found in the Caves have “contributed greatly to the understanding of the physical and cultural evolution of man in the early phases of his existence,” according to a statement on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Nahal Me’arot joins seven other World Heritage sites located in Israel. These are: the Old City of Jerusalem; the Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee; the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Hazor, and Beer Sheba; the Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev; Masada; the Old City of Acre; and the White City of Tel-Aviv.

Of course, the most dubious recent addition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was the Church of the Nativity, not least because it was admitted as a site under a state that does not exist – ‘Palestine’. This was made possible by the UNESCO’s vote last October to admit Palestine as a full member.

“This is proof that UNESCO is acting out of political considerations and not cultural ones,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time. “The world must remember that the Church of Nativity, which is sacred to Christians, was desecrated in the past by Palestinian terrorists.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/carmel-caves-voted-a-unesco-world-heritage-site/2012/07/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: