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UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
30 October 1995
28 C/19 Add. Rev.
30 October 1995
English and Spanish only
Item 5.6 of the provisional agenda
JERUSALEM AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF 27 C/RESOLUTION 3.8
1. At the 147th session of the Executive Board, the Director-General submitted a report on the implementation of 145 EX/Decision 5.5.1. In the report (147 EX/17), annexed hereto, the Director-General communicated the results of the mission by his personal representative, Professor Raymond Lemaire, to Jerusalem in May 1995.
2. Professor Lemaire again visited Jerusalem from 18 to 22 September to inform the Executive Board and the General Conference of the current situation and prepared the following report.
3. Report of the personal representative of the Director-General:
ADDITIONAL REPORT TO MR FEDERICO MAYOR ON THE SAFEGUARDING
OF THE CULTURAL HERITAGE, IN PARTICULAR THE URBAN AND
MONUMENTAL HERITAGE OF JERUSALEM
As agreed, I visited Jerusalem from 18 to 22 September so as to be in position to report, before the debates on Jerusalem in the Executive Board and at the General Conference, on any
developments. There is some new information that could provide a clearer grasp of the situation.
In my report of 10 August I noted that work was in progress at the archaeological site known as the ‘Mazar excavations’, situated on the south-west corner of
. These excavations were undertaken shortly after the Israeli army occupied the Old City. They were discontinued some years ago and since then have been poorly maintained, if at all. My annual reports have repeatedly mentioned this situation, a rather alarming one in view of the fact that the remains uncovered are of capital importance for the history of the city from its origins to the recent past and often require sensitive safeguarding measures. In my previous reports I have repeatedly called for better maintenance.
The work under way in the sector should be divided into two parts. The first part is aimed at providing better protection and making visits to the excavation site safer and more informative. To that end, several types of work have been undertaken: clearance of the vegetation that has taken root over the years, freeing of half-buried walls, strengthening of fragile remains, anastylosis of some fallen buildings and partial reconstruction of others and arrangement of tour circuits. The second set of works consists of further digging to join the ‘Mazar’ excavations by an underground tunnel to those carried out nearly a century ago to the south of the complex at the Ofel site, where the ‘original’ Jerusalem stood. These are new excavations only a few dozen square metres in area. This operation is being combined with the opening of a walled-up gate in the city walls which predate those of the fifteenth century and are situated at the level of the latter’s foundations. The purpose of this opening is to join the inside and outside excavation sites in this part of the town by an underground passage following the access road to the old city through the Dun Gate. In fact, this entire area is congested by the large numbers of people seeking access to the Piazza created in front of the Wailing Wall. These are fairly substantial works that should improve visitor safety but would alter an historic site that has - it must be said - undergone other significant upheavals during the last quarter century. This issue has been widely discussed in many of the reports covering
2. The tunnel
I observed no change since my last visit in the tunnel which runs along the western wall of
The north exit on to the Via Dolorosa has not been built.
There have been no developments since my last report, except for some damp probably caused by a defective drain-pipe near the south-west corner of the wall surrounding the sanctuary, which is causing some concern about its long-term stability. Since its location dominates the ‘Mazar’ excavation site mentioned earlier, the Islamic and Israeli authorities would like a foreign expert of repute to study the situation. An early response will be given to this request.
4. The Dome of the Rock
It was agreed that restoration of the marble facing on the inner walls of the monument should be looked into, taking due account of an expert report prepared for the purpose following a UNESCO mission.
The contract for the financing of the works, amounting to some US$300,000, is being concluded.
The catalogue of the manuscripts of the Al-Aqsà Library and Museum
The contract for the financing of this publication is also nearing conclusion.
7. The Holy Sepulchre
There are no further developments to report.
1 October 1995
4. After examining the report of the Director-General, the Executive Board adopted decision 3.6.1, whereby it ‘thanked the Director-General for the commendable efforts that he is unceasingly making to ensure the implementation of UNESCO’s decisions and resolutions and to secure respect for all the aspects of the historic site of the Old City of Jerusalem’, [...] ‘decides to place this item on the agenda of the 150th session’ [and] recommends that the General Conference adopt the following resolution:
The General Conference,
the provisions of the Hague Convention and Protocol of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocols,
that the Old City of Jerusalem is included in the World Heritage List and in the List of World Heritage in Danger and that its protection also comes under the 1972 Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,
the Director-General’s report on this question (147 EX/17),
UNESCO’s previous decisions and resolutions on the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Jerusalem, requesting that no measure or act be undertaken that alters the religious, cultural, historical or demographical nature of the city or impairs the balance of the site as a whole, pending the outcome of negotiations on the final status of Jerusalem,
(a) that so far no inventory has been undertaken of the cultural and physical heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem by experts of high repute in the fields concerned, working on an interdisciplinary basis, as had been decided at the twenty-sixth session of the General Conference;
(b) that the bedrock affected by the substance used in digging the tunnel has not been examined, as decided at the 145th session of the Executive Board, in order to propose any measures that might be taken to consolidate the bedrock;
to the fact that:
(a) further excavations have been undertaken in
(b) a new gate, located some 10 metres away from the Gate of the Maghrebi, has been opened in the historic wall;
(c) this work significantly alters the architectural and historical aspects of the walls of the Old City, in violation of the recognized principles of preservation of a scheduled historic site and the relevant resolutions adopted in this regard;
(d) a significant additional excavation of the old tunnel already dug along the western wall of
has been made despite the damage done to the historic buildings above that tunnel and notwithstanding the many objections raised in this respect, this new excavation being designed to result in an opening into the
(e) the building work in the new neighbourhood of Mamilla is continuing, thus alarmingly impairing one of the most spectacular urban landscapes of the Holy City;
(f) the same is true of the developments affecting the belvedere, road and small adjoining car park in the east of the city, all of which lie on land which is the exclusive property of the
Notes however with satisfaction
the progress of the examination carried out by specialists from ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Rome) concerning the restoration of the external marble facing of the walls of the Dome of the Rock, the restoration of the stucco-work of the Dome, the conservation of the mosaics decorating the inside of the monument and the project concerning the lighting of the Dome of the Rock;
the Israeli authorities for their co-operation with the UNESCO missions;
to the constant efforts made by the
authorities to preserve the Islamic cultural property of Jerusalem;
Extends its thanks
to Professor Lemaire for the work that he has done since the beginning of his mission to Jerusalem;
the Director-General for the commendable efforts that he is unceasingly making to ensure the implementation of UNESCO’s decisions and resolutions and to secure respect for all the aspects and characteristics of the historic site of the Old City of Jerusalem;
that the peace accords between Israel and Jordan and between Israel and the PLO will pave the way for a new era of mutual understanding, promoting the establishment of a culture of peace in the region and invites the Director-General, having regard to the new situation created by the peace process and within the framework of the mission assigned to him to that end:
(a) to draw up a comprehensive medium- and long-term plan for the purpose of making an inventory of the cultural property of the Old City of Jerusalem and working out safeguarding measures, identifying at an initial stage the projects deemed to have priority;
(b) to take appropriate measures to determine whether it is necessary to consider consolidating the bedrock and the structures built on it in connection with furthering the tunnel;
(c) to arrange for work to be undertaken rapidly to restore
, together with the
, which form an indissociable complex vital for the conservation of the Old City;
(d) to arrange without delay for the restoration of the manuscripts from the Al-Aqsà Mosque, some of which date from the eighth and ninth centuries, by establishing for that purpose on the spot a restoration workshop which would also serve as a training centre in this field;
(e) to arrange for a thorough historical, archaeological and technical scientific study to be carried out of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, under the aegis of UNESCO, on the basis of which further restoration projects could be drawn up, serving as guidance for future work;
Further invites him
to be vigilant in ensuring that the Israeli authorities, with regard to the work to open the new gate in the historic walls and the continued digging of the tunnel, proceed with full respect for the Charter of Venice and the relevant universally recognized principles;
to place this item on the agenda of its twenty-ninth session.