The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is once again facing a proposed resolution on Jerusalem.
Jordan is renewing its recommendation that the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls be again inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
“The situation of this property corresponds to the criteria mentioned in the ICOMOS note and, in particular, to criteria (3) (significant loss of historical authenticity) and (f) (important loss of cultural significance) as far as “ascertained danger” is concerned, and to criteria (a) (modification of juridical status of the property diminishing the degree of its protection), (b) (lack of conservation policy) and (d) (threatening effects of town planning) as far as “potential danger” is concerned,” Jordan wrote in describing the “threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger,” since 1982.
Previous committee decisions, by the way, can be seen by clicking here.
For the year 1982 alone, the amount of $100,000 in international assistance was approved at the time. Since 1988, according to the report, UNSCO extra-budgetary funds in the amount of $5M have been granted.
Factors that allegedly affected the property, identified in prior reports, according to Jordan, included “natural risk factors, lack of planning, governance and management processes; alteration of the urban and social fabric; impact of archaeological excavations; deterioration of monuments; and urban environment and visual integrity.”
A report provided to the World Heritage Committee by the Israeli Permanent Delegation to UNESCO on February 6 of this year is duly noted, and then basically tossed aside.
The committee also faced with another proposed resolution that would place the ancient holy city of Hebron on to the register as an “endangered” UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Ramallah government of the Palestinian Authority via a fast-tack process. For the third time, however, the ICONOS committee that acted as technical consultant to the process pointed out the references to the Old City were extremely narrow, entirely ignoring its ancient Judeo-Christian history. As such, it made no sense to recommend the site be included with so much information missing from the report.
Meanwhile, Jordan has teamed up with the Palestinian Authority to underline the Jerusalem report, “Systematic Demolition of the Magharbeh Gate Pathway (MGH) 2004-2016″ and complain about alleged ‘extensive “aggression against the MGP” by many constructions, excavations, demolitions, expansions of prayer areas as well as underground tunneling beneath the MGP.’
According to the report, the Norwegian Government and UNESCO signed in December 2011 an agreement for a project, “Ensuring the sustainability of the Center for the Restoration of Islamic Manuscripts of the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.” The project was intended to build capacities of the staff of the Center in preserving Islamic manuscripts.
Jordan reports in its current submission “The stakeholders are currently discussion a possible new phase of the project to be implemented from 2017 onwards.”
In addition, a project, “Safeguarding, Refurbishment and Revitalization of the Islamic Museum of the Haram al-Sharif and its Collection” started in 2008 “with funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to the Jordanian submission.
“The reopening of the museum depends on the availability of funds and is foreseen beyond 2017,” according to Jordan.
According to Amman, the “Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism” requested by the UNESCO Executive Board at its 176th session, and by the World Heritage Committee (10 years ago) at its 31st session (Christchurch 2007), applied to the Mughrabi Ascent until 2011, when the World Heritage Committee voted to expand the mechanism to the entire Old City of Jerusalem.
Seven reports were prepared, in December of that year, and each year following, until and including May of this year, distributed to each of the members of the World Heritage Committee and “concerned parties.”
By definition, a “Reactive Monitoring mission” as referred to in the UNESCO operational guidelines, is intended to assess and advise on progress made in the implementation of the “Action Plan” – in cooperation and consultation with the concerned parties.
Since the Mughrabi Ascent refers to the wooden walkway that leads to the entrance of the Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in the Jewish faith, its construction, repair and maintenance is one of the most incendiary issues that exists between Israel, Jordan and the Islamic Waqf which oversees worship at the mosques on the site.