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Source: UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
27 October 1995

28 C/19 Add.
27 October 1995
Original: French
Item 5.6 of the provisional agenda



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:


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 in situ developments. There is some new information that could provide a clearer grasp of the situation.

1. The excavations

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 Al-Harâm ash-Sharîf. 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
this period.

2. The tunnel

I observed no change since my last visit in the tunnel which runs along the western wall of Al-Harâm ash-Sharîf. The north exit on to the Via Dolorosa has not been built.

3. Al-Harâm ash-Sharîf

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.

5. Hammâm ash-Shîfâ and Hammâm al-’Ain

The contract for the financing of the works, amounting to some US$300,000, is being concluded.

6. 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.

R. Lemaire
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:

Annex = 147 EX/17

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