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Source: UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
1 January 1978
RESOLUTION 4/7.6/13.


The General Conference,

Considering the importance of the role played by Unesco, in accordance with its Constitution, in the protection and preservation of the world heritage of monuments of historic or scientific value,

Considering the exceptional importance of the cultural property in the Old City of Jerusalem, not only to the countries directly concerned but to all humanity, on account of its unique cultural, historical and religious value,

Recalling Article 32 of the Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations, adopted by the General Conference at its ninth session (New Delhi, 1956), which stipulates that, in the event of armed conflict, any Member State occupying the territory of another State should refrain from carrying out archaeological excavations in the occupied territory,

Considering that Israel, taking advantage of its military occupation of the territory, has unilaterally and in defiance of all accepted laws, taken upon itself to alter the configuration and status of the City of Jerusalem,

Considering that such a situation, resulting from an act of force which offends the conscience of the international community as a whole, jeopardizes the chances of restoring the peace for which it is Unesco's task to work, and has incurred the reprobation of the community of nations,

Considering that in its resolutions 2253 (ES-V) of 4 July 1967, 2254 (ES-V) of 14 July 1967, and 32/5 of 28 October 1977, the United Nations General Assembly "affirmed that the changes undertaken by Israel in the City of Jerusalem are unlawful, and called upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist from taking any action which would alter the status of Jerusalem,

Considering that the United Nations Security Council noted, in its resolutions 252(1968) of 21 May 1968 and 267(1969) of 3 July 1969, that the measures taken by Israel which tend to change the status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status, and called upon Israel to rescind forthwith all measures taken by it and in future to refrain from all action likely to alter the status of Jerusalem,

Recalling that since the fifteenth session of the General Conference (1968) Unesco has urgently called on Israel to desist from any archaeological excavations in the City of Jerusalem and from any alteration of its features or its cultural and historical character, particularly with regard to Christian and Islamic religious sites (15 C/Resolution 3.342 and 3.343, 82 EX/Decision 4.4.2, 83 EX/Decision 4.3.l, 88 EX/Decision 4.3.l, 89 EX/Decision 4.4.l, 17 C/Resolution 3.422, 18 C/Resolution 3.427 and 19 C/Resolution 4.129),

Bearing in mind that, at its seventeenth session, the General Conference, in resolution 3.422,

(a) noted "that Israel persists in not complying with the relevant resolutions and that its attitude prevents this Organization from undertaking the mission which is incumbent upon it under the terms of the Constitution",

(b) invited "the Director-General to continue his efforts to establish the effective presence of Unesco in the City of Jerusalem and thus make possible the actual implementation of the resolutions adopted by the General Conference and the Executive Board for that purpose",

Considering that it is most legitimately that, on the basis of these very clear resolutions, reiterated with a constant patience dictated by the need to preserve peace, and in compliance with the letter and spirit of the aforementioned resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, the General Conference of Unesco, at its eighteenth session, after recalling and reaffirming the relevant resolutions it had previously adopted in resolution 3.427 "condemns Israel for its attitude which is contradictory to the aims of the Organization as stated in its Constitution by its persistence in altering the historical features of the City of Jerusalem and by undertaking excavations which constitute a danger to its monuments, subsequent to its illegal occupation of this city" and "invites the Director-General to withhold assistance from Israel in the fields of education, science and culture until such time as it scrupulously respects the aforementioned resolutions and decisions",

Considering that the lifting of the restrictions which the Director-General was thus invited to apply depends solely upon the will of Israel,

Considering that this challenge, which is intolerable for the dignity of the other Member States, prevents the Organization from properly discharging the mission laid upon it by its Constitution,

Affirming solemnly the right of every people not to be deprived of the significant evidence of its past on the pretext of searching for vestiges of another culture,

Considering that Member States as a whole can but deplore and, as the United Nations General Assembly did in its resolution 3525(XXX) of 15 December 1975, "condemn... the following Israeli policies and practices: the annexation of parts of the occupied territories;... the destruction and demolition of Arab houses; the pillaging of archaeological and cultural property ...",

Noting in the light of the report of the Director-General contained in document 20 C/19 Add., that Israel has not changed its attitude with regard to the aforementioned resolutions of the United Nations and of Unesco, and that it has not undertaken to desist finally from undertaking excavations,

Guided by the previous decisions adopted by the General Conference since its fourteenth session (14 C/Resolution 11, 15 C/Resolution 9.12 and 9.14, 16 C/Resolution 8, 17 C/Resolution 10.1, 18 C/Resolution 3.427 and 19 C/Resolution 4.129),

1. Warmly thanks the Director-General for his efforts with a view to the implementation of resolution 4.129 adopted by the General Conference at its nineteenth session;

2. Reaffirms the aforementioned resolutions adopted by the General Conference of Unesco concerning Jerusalem, particularly 18 C/Resolution 3.427, and insists that they be put into effect;

3. Condemns the Israeli occupying authorities for having infringed the resolutions adopted by the United Nations and by Unesco, and for having continued from the beginning of the occupation until the present, to change and Judaize the historic and cultural configuration of Jerusalem;

4. Issues an urgent and firm appeal to Israel to desist forthwith and finally from continuing the excavations unlawfully undertaken and from taking steps which are altering the character and status of the City of Jerusalem;

5. Requests the Director-General to report to the Executive Board at its 107th session on the implementation of this resolution.

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