UN committee votes to add ruins of ancient Jericho to Palestine’s World Heritage List

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A U.N. conference voted Sunday to add the ruins of the ancient West Bank city of Jericho to Palestine’s world heritage list. The decision is likely to anger Israel, which controls the area and does not recognize a Palestinian state.

Jericho is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth and lies in part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is administered by the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. The listing refers to the nearby Tel es-Sultan archaeological site, which has ruins dating back to the 9th millennium BC. BC contains

The decision was made at a meeting of the UN World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

Israel withdrew from UNESCO in 2019, accusing it of bias against UNESCO and weakening its ties to the Holy Land. Israel also rejected Palestine’s acceptance as a UNESCO member state in 2011. But Israel remains a party to the World Heritage Convention, and it sent a delegation to the meeting in Riyadh.

Israel conquered the West Bank as well as Gaza and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians want all three areas for their future state. Israel considers the West Bank to be the biblical and cultural heartland of the Jewish people.

Political cartoons

There have been no serious or substantive peace negotiations in over a decade, and Israel is currently led by the most nationalist and religious government in its history, making any move toward a Palestinian state almost inconceivable.

The modern city of Jericho is a major draw for tourists to the Palestinian territories due to its historical sites and proximity to the Dead Sea. In 2021, the Palestinian Authority major renovation work unveiled to one of the largest mosaics in the Middle East, in an 8th-century Jericho palace.

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Brian Ashcraft

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