UNESCO adopts Jordan's Decisions regarding Jerusalem, Magharbeh Gate Pathway
Amman, July 1st (Petra) -- In its 36th annual session in St. Petersburg, the
UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the highest executive body of UNESCO
adopted, on July 1st, 2012, the Jordanian decision regarding the Holy City
of Jerusalem and Its Walls and the Decision on the Magharbeh Gate Pathway.
In 1981, and in response to the Israeli Knesset's decision to annex
Jerusalem, Jordan successfully added the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls
to the list of World Heritage Sites and in 1982, Jordan succeeded in adding
them to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
An official source relayed that the united position of the Arab group at
UNESCO enabled the adoption of the suggested Jordanian decisions. The source
also said that the Jordanian delegation at St Petersburg, in close
coordination with the Palestinian Authority, spearheaded a strong drive to
get UNESCO adopt the language of the decision which deplores the Israeli
occupation's violations in Jerusalem.
The source said that the Israeli intransigence regarding some of the items
in the Jerusalem decision regarding violations against cultural heritage on
the ground prompted the committee to endorse the decision.
The considerable Jordanian diplomatic and political pressure forced Israel
to accept the language of the Magharbeh Gate Pathway decision; a victory for
Jordan as it is an Israeli admission of the Jordanian Awqaf's right to
reconstruct the Magharbeh Gate Pathway, an integral and indivisible part of
Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary.) The Jordanian source said that in
the decision UNESCO expressed its deep concern about the continuing Israeli
excavations in and around the Old City and its Walls.
UNESCO also expressed deep concern regarding Israel not providing the World
Heritage Centre with information about these excavations.
UNESCO also asked Israel to immediately desist from these acts and
excavations. The World Heritage Centre asked that in its annual reports the
UNESCO WHC should highlight all the obstacles that Israel places in regard
to this issue and the reasons why Israel does not provide the WHC with the
information requested from it in this matter.
The WHC asked that it be able to verify these matters in a concrete way. The
Jordanian decision succeeded in expanding and enhancing the mechanism in
which UNESCO can monitor the situation to include the entirety of the Old
City and its Walls.
These mechanisms, which were stipulated in previous decisions, were formerly
restricted to the Magharbeh Gate Pathway which leads into the Holy Aqsa
The decision also expressed UNESCO's regret that Israel refuses to cooperate
with the WHC and abide by UNESCO's decisions. The decision asked that
Israel, as the occupying force, facilitate the execution of the WHC's
decisions which demand that a joint mission from the WHC and UNESCO's
technical advisory bodies be sent to monitor and inspect the Israeli
excavations in and around the Old City and its Walls, something which Israel
The Jordanian decision adopted by UNESCO also included sophisticated
language that addresses some of the basic Jordanian concerns regarding the
Magharbeh Gate Pathway which is adjacent to Al-Haram Al-Sharif and leads
UNESCO expressed its regret that Israel submitted its unilateral plan and
design for the Magharbeh Gate Pathway to UNESCO before the WHC meetings.
On the other hand, UNESCO welcomed the Jordanian planned design to
reconstruct and maintain the Pathway which the Kingdom submitted to UNESCO.
UNESCO thanked Jordan for cooperating with UNESCO to protect the Magharbeh
site in accordance with UNESCO decisions and relevant international
UNESCO also emphasized the fact that Jordan is the legitimate authority in
charge of maintaining and protecting the site; and that the Kingdom is the
custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
The decision also reaffirmed the necessity of UNESCO coordinating the next
moves re the Jordanian design with the concerned advisory bodies.
The Jordanian source added that the decision affirms that Israel should not
undertake any unilateral action at the site and that it should not alter in
any way the original Magharbeh Gate Pathway.
It also affirmed that Jordan must pre-approve any work, action or
reconstruction work related to the Magharbeh Gate Pathway which partially
collapsed in 2004 as a result of Israeli action at the site.
Furthermore, the Jordanian source expressed condemnation of Israeli
unilateral works at the site of Islamic relics in the Magharbeh Gate area in
the last two months.
In continuation of the special Hashemite role in protecting the Waqfs and
holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem since 1921, Jordan is keen on
receiving international assurances that affirm that no legitimacy is given
to any Israeli occupation’s violations or unilateral actions undertaken on
Waqf property or around the perimeter of the Holy Aqsa Mosque.
1/7/2012 - 08:30:05 PM