Question of Palestine home
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
15 October 1987
United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Hundred and twenty-seventh Session
Item 5.4.1 of the provisional agenda
127 EX/12 Rev.
PARIS, 15 October 1987
JERUSALEM AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF 23 C/RESOLUTION 11.3
Report by the Director-General
In decision 5.4.1 adopted at its 125th session, the Executive Board invited the Director-General 'to submit a synoptic report to it at its 127th session on the application of Unesco resolutions and decisions regarding the cultural heritage of Jerusalem' and decided 'to include this question on the agenda of its 127th session with a view to taking such decisions as may be required by the situation obtaining at that time'. In this document the Director-General submits to the Executive Board the information at his disposal as at 10 July 1987 with regard to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Jerusalem, and, more especially, the synoptic report requested by the Executive Board.
1. At its 125th session, the Executive Board examined the Director-General's report on 'Jerusalem and the implementation of 23 C/Resolution 11.3' (document 125 EX/15) and adopted decision 5.4,1, the text of which is reproduced in Annex I. The operative part of this decision includes the following three paragraphs:
the Director-General to submit a synoptic report to it at its 127th session on the application of Unesco resolutions and decisions regarding the cultural heritage of Jerusalem;
the Director-General to launch a solemn appeal to the international community to contribute to the financing of the works for safeguarding the Islamic cultural and religious heritage in order to support the efforts of the Waqf, the owner of this heritage;
to include this question on the agenda of its 127th session with a view to taking such decisions as may be required by the situation obtaining at that time.'
2. The Executive Board will recall that the General Conference, after examining at its twenty-third Session, the Director-General's report on the measures he had taken to implement 22 C/Resolution 11.8 (document 23 C/15), adopted resolution 11.3, which is reproduced in Annex II. In that resolution, the General Conference:
that ... the city of Jerusalem has been recognized as of universal importance by being included in the World Heritage List;
that the Israeli military occupation and the present status of the city entail dangers for the safeguarding of its essential vocation;
Recalls and reaffirms
the previous resolutions adopted by the General Conference, which seek to ensure the safeguarding of all the spiritual, cultural, historical and other values of the Holy City;
the fact that assaults and attempted assaults have been perpetrated on the holy places of Islam, which constitutes a grave derogation from the ecumenical vocation of the City;
the fact that works carried out in the old Holy City have imperilled important historical monuments, which embody the cultural identity of the indigenous population;
that all Member States combine their efforts to ensure the total and effective safeguarding of the occupied Holy City and the preservation and restoration of the historical monuments of the City and its universal heritage belonging to all religions:
Draws the attention
of the international community more particularly to the state of degradation of a large part of the Islamic cultural and religious heritage and
Member States to support the efforts of the Waqf, owner of this heritage, by making voluntary contribution to the financing of safeguarding operations;
he Director-General for everything he has done in this context and
him to assist by appropriate means in implementing this resolution, in accordance with the conclusions of Professor Lemaire's report set out in document 23 C/15;
to include this question in the agenda of the twenty-fourth Session of the General Conference with a view to taking such decisions as may be required by the situation obtaining at that time.'
II. COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL CONCERNING JERUSALEM
3. The Director-General received a letter dated 23 September 1986 from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization concerning the Nabi-Daoud Mosque in Jerusalem. The text of this letter, which the Director-General transmitted to the Permanent Delegate of Israel to Unesco on 7 October 1986 with a request for his Government's comments, is reproduced below:
'Paris, 23 September 1986
The Israeli occupation authorities recently requisitioned and desecrated the Nabi-Daoud Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, turning it into a synagogue.
They removed the carpets, the mihrab, the verses of the Koran and the green curtain covering the tomb of Nabi-Daoud and replaced them with a navy-blue curtain stamped with stars of David.
They also requisitioned the houses around the Mosque, and prevented Muslims from burying their dead in the nearby cemetery, which has been turned into a rubbish dump.
This further violation of the Hague Convention is part of Israel's policy aimed at the "Israelization" of the occupied Holy City of Jerusalem.
I rely on you to take immediate action, and ask you to accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
(Sad) Omar Massalha
Palestine Liberation Organization'
4. Furthermore, the Director-General received a communication dated 5 November 1986 from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization concerning work being carried out in Muslim cemeteries in Jerusalem. The text of the communication, which was transmitted by the Secretariat to the Permanent Delegate of Israel to Unesco on 5 December 1986, is reproduced below:
'Paris, 5 November 1986
Contrary to what is asserted by Professor Lemaire in his report of 28 July 1986 -("It should also be noted that a project involving the laying of a drainage pipe across the cemetery was abandoned by the municipality at the request of the Waqf. With regard to the future of the cemetery, it was confirmed to me that no projects exists for the deconsecration of the site and that, on the contrary, the site and its tombs are to be safeguarded. The site is due to be improved in the near future. The municipality wishes to carry out the conservation and restoration of the tombs and the mausoleum in full agreement with the Waqf authorities" (125 EX/15 Add. 1)) - the Israeli authorities are again desecrating the Mamulla cemetery in Jerusalem and that of A1 Aissawlya, located in the occupied Holy City.
For the past few days, bulldozers belonging to the municipality of Jerusalem have been undertaking systematic drilling work in the Mamulla cemetery and a delegation of the Islamic Waqf has seen this serious act of desecration for itself - bones and skeletons thrown into the alleys around the cemeteries with a complete lack of respect for the dead.
I vigorously condemn this atrocious crime committed by the Israeli authorities and ask you to take immediate action to put an end to these heinous acts of desecration.
With my thanks in advance, please accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
(Sad) Omar Massalha
Palestine Liberation Organization'
5. At the time of preparing this report, the Director-General had not received any observations from the Israeli authorities concerning the aforementioned communications.
III. SYNOPTIC REPORT ON THE APPLICATION OF UNESCO RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS REGARDING THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF JERUSALEM
6. In pursuance of 125 EX/Decision 5.4.1 of the Executive Board, the Director-General instructed his personal representative, Mr. Raymond Lemaire, Honorary Professor at the University of Louvain, to visit Jerusalem from 20 to
24 April 1987. The synoptic report that follows was prepared by Professor Lemaire at the Director-General's request, and incorporates the results of his mission.
SYNOPTIC REPORT ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE
MONUMENTAL HERITAGE OF JERUSALEM FROM 1971 TO 1987
This report follows up two synoptic notes prepared on 18 November 1980 and 6 May 1983 respectively. It repeats the text and the facts described in them only to the extent that the situation has remained unchanged; any new events or developments are dealt with at length.
The purpose of the report is to provide a general picture of the state of the monumental heritage of the city of Jerusalem. Not only were monuments, sites and excavations which have been or are being carried out examined, but the general aspect of the Old City and its development were considered as well.
The author has sought to make a realistic and objective analysis of the situation with regard to the conservation of Jerusalem's monumental heritage, particularly in regard to the archaeological remains, buildings or parts of the city about which objections have been raised or which have been the subject of complaints lodged with the Director-General.
Examination of the problems has been deliberately confined to the technical and professional aspects. However, an outline of the general legal background has been provided so that the issues may be more clearly placed in their context. Technical and scientific assessments are based on knowledge or international standards that are generally accepted in the fields in question. Any qualitative assessments are based on the same standards.
2. The status of Jerusalem
So as to place the problems involved in the safeguarding of Jerusalem's monumental heritage in their proper perspective, it may be well to recall a number of basic facts concerning the status of Jerusalem as it emerges from the decisions of the United Nations. Until 1917 Jerusalem was a provincial city of the Ottoman Empire. After it was captured by General Allenby, it became the capital of Palestine, a territory under British Mandate, the Mandate having been granted by the League of Nations on 24 July 1922. In 1947, Great Britain placed its Mandate at the disposal of the United Nations which drew up a partition arrangement for Palestine setting up three distinct territories: one was for the constitution of an Arab State, the second for a Jewish State, while the third -Jerusalem -was to be placed under international jurisdiction (General Assembly Resolution 181, 29 November 1947). There thus arose, in the case of Jerusalem, the concept of the "Corpus Separatum", characterizing the legal status of the Holy City and underlying the Political attitudes of many countries towards it.
The war that broke out even before the departure of the British forces created a
situation which was recognized by the truce that came into force on 11 June 1948. This, in fact, divided the territory of Palestine and the city of Jerusalem between the two belligerents along a north-south axis. The Old City, over which a fierce battle had been fought, came into Jordanian possession, while the new city, which had been developing since the nineteenth century on its western flank, was attached to the new State of Israel that had been founded on 14 May 1948.
The Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, voted on 13 December 1949 that it and the government should be transferred to Jerusalem, and on 23 January 1950 proclaimed the city the capital of the State. In addition, the Jordanian Government, which had taken preparatory measures as early as April 1949, decided on 24 April 1950 to unify Palestine, including Jerusalem, and Jordan. However, on 9 December 1949, the United Nations General Assembly had, in Resolution 303, confirmed Resolution 181 which advocated that the city in its entirety should be accorded the status of international territory.
Divided for over 20 years by a veritable iron curtain, whose only opening was the famous Mandelbaum Gate, the whole city was occupied by the Israeli army at the same time as the West Bank during the Six-Day War in [July] 1967. On 27 June, the Knesset voted a law the implementation of which effectively resulted in the annexation of the eastern part of Jerusalem and a large surrounding area. It subsequently decided to make the entire city the capital of the State. On 22 November, the Security Council adopted Resolution 242 calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. This resolution is the cornerstone of all the resolutions and recommendations subsequently adopted on the subject of the city by the United Nations and Unesco.
The city of Jerusalem and its suburbs
The preservation of the traditional site of Jerusalem is a concern that has been frequently voiced during the past 20 years at the General Conference and the Executive Board.
As in the case of many cities, Jerusalem has been undergoing constant change since the end of the nineteenth century. This process has been speeded up to an extraordinary extent since the foundation of the State of Israel, and, more especially, since 1967.
Many buildings have been erected in the city in order to house the government services of the State of Israel. Tens of thousands of new flats have been built, and large numbers of factories constructed. The basis of this policy was the Knesset's unilateral decision to annex the whole of the territory of the present municipality of Jerusalem. A large number of the new buildings are situated to the west of the former border, but important facilities such as the new Hebrew University on Mount Scopus (where it was founded in 1925), the thousands of housing estates on French Hill and Ramat-Eskhol, the Jerusalem International Airport and large industrial zones, all of which were built after 1967, are situated in the occupied territories.
Although the building boom has declined considerably with the economic crisis, fairly important extensions have continued to be made during recent years, such as the completion of high-rise buildings which were being built in the Israeli part of Jerusalem and whose silhouette merges with that of the tower blocks, all of which date back to earlier years. They none the less add to the regrettable building density that forms the backdrop to the Old City, one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world.
As far as the built-up area as a whole is concerned, mention should be made of the continuing construction of vast areas of suburban housing south-west of Nabi-Samuel. The area concerned was earmarked for development as a 'Residential Urban Zone' in the Israeli master-plan for the city drawn up in 1968. It is situated east of the border of the State of Israel and, hence, lies in the occupied territories.
The same may be said of the satellite town of Maale Adomin, which is about ten kilometres east of Jerusalem, and of the neighbouring industrial zone. This new development right out in the desert is close to the Jerusalem-Jericho road. According to municipal town-planning authorities over 1,000 housing units had been built there up to 1983. Maale Adomin is one of the links in the vast pattern of new building development which, in or around the present municipal territory of Jerusalem, extends the urban fabric -already vast and relatively dense in Israeli territory -to the north, east and south of the Old City, in the occupied zone. Although the innumerable buildings erected since the Six-Day War have altered the aspect of the city considerably, the starting-point of these changes goes back much further. Demographic trends in the city as a whole are significant in this respect:
1922: 68,000 inhabitants
1967: 267,000 inhabitants
1980: 380,000 inhabitants
approximately 450,000 at the present time.
Even before 1967, the rapid growth of the population and the development of tourism had called for the building of many new facilities which were not always properly integrated in the site or the morphology of the urban fabric. There are, for example, the large international hotels such as those built on the summit of the Mount of Olives and in the middle of the village of Siloe. These examples show that 'East Jerusalem' was beginning to suffer from the effects of uncontrolled urban growth even prior to 1967.
The situation has worsened over the last 10 years, especially as a result of the building of a series of tower blocks and fortress-like precincts that ruin the skyline and are out of keeping with the scale of the immediate backdrop to the admirable landscape of the Old City.
With the exception of one of these areas (French Hill), one tower block, the vast complex of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus and the new Hyatt hotel, the majority of these buildings are situated west of the pre-1967 border, i.e. in Israeli territory.
It should be noted that a not inconsiderable part of the Jewish population is strongly opposed to the changes that are being made to the historic site of Jerusalem as a result of the construction of vast complexes, and this has led to the setting up of defence associations and advisory bodies, such as 'Beautiful Jerusalem'. For years there has been growing opposition to the vast Mamilla reconstruction project, which is situated partly on Israeli territory and partly in the former 'no man's land' in the immediate vicinity of the Jaffa Gate.
It should, however, be pointed out that no high-rise buildings have been erected since the end of the seventies. The municipality no longer appears to authorize the construction of buildings of a disproportionate size that ruin the beauty of an incomparable site irrevocably.
Having become the 'capital' of a State, Jerusalem has once and for all lost the traditional 'biblical' dimension that characterized it over the centuries. This trend emerged somewhat timidly when Ottoman rule came to an end, continued under the British Mandate, began to develop non-traditional forms in the Jordanian era and became really pronounced after 1967. The Old City is now only a tiny part (90 hectares or 0.08 per cent) of a vast municipality straddling the border of the Israeli State and the occupied territories, where the facilities and buildings making up a large modern city have been and are still being erected. Because of the structure of the site, the city's position in the urban area as a whole and the policy that has been developed for close on one hundred years, the specific characteristics and integrity of the Old City and its relationship with the Valley of Kidron have been preserved, but, with the landscapes now emerging beyond the walls (to a moderate extent in the south and the east, but developing essentially to the north and the west, its surroundings have been totally disrupted. Open spaces have given way to vast built-up areas marked by the occasional tower block.
Development schemes in the Old City
These consist mainly in the renewal of the sewers, water mains and electricity supply, the resurfacing of streets and squares and improvements to street-lighting, shop-fronts and the external parts of the ramparts, clearance of rubbish dumps inside the ramparts and removal of television aerials. The restoration and rebuilding of the Jewish quarter inside the walls of the Old City is a separate undertaking as unlike the rest of the city it was seriously damaged in the 1948 war.
All this work began in 1969 and has been progressing ever since in stages, according to the financial resources available.
The renewal of public utilities
(sewers, water mains and electricity supply cables) is more than three-quarters finished, according to the information provided by Mr. Yaacovi, Chairman of East Jerusalem Development Ltd., the organization in charge of the work. I have in the past stressed the technical and health reasons for carrying out this work. The old drainage system was obviously becoming inadequate to cope with the heavy increase in water consumption. Its haphazard structure made up of segments dating back to different, sometimes very ancient, periods, was the cause of many disruptions and mishaps which, given the nature of the water (sewage water) were likely to give rise to serious sanitation problems. While there seems to be no doubt as to the desirability of the work, in the eyes of the city's Arab population likewise, there is serious criticism of the way in which some of the work has been carried out. This includes the claim that insufficient attention was paid to the state of the buildings lining the streets, and that part of the work was done during the winter rainy season, thus increasing difficulties of access to homes and the risks of soil erosion and flooding of cellars. Certain houses developed serious fissures, or even collapsed. These houses are not very old (nineteenth or even early twentieth century) but they belong to the vernacular architecture of Jerusalem. They are built of local stone and feature barrel vaults and domes.
Scrutiny of the facades on the streets of the Muslim Quarter where new utilities have been installed does not, on the whole, show any developing cracks. Such scrutiny is not, however, exhaustive, for damage is usually more obvious inside the houses. The efficiency of the new sewage system is apparent from the fact that certain cellars which were previously flooded are no longer flooded today. The crypt of the patriarchal Armenian church, Our Lady of the Spasm, is a case in point. However, the Waqf architects report that in the low-lying parts of the Arab Quarter the new drains have had difficulty in coping with the rainfall of recent harsh winters, which has admittedly been very heavy.
Specific complaints aside, it is therefore difficult to reach a fair appraisal of the criticisms levelled at the way in which the work has been carried out. The authorities claim that the engineers analyse the work very carefully and take the necessary steps to prevent or, at any rate limit, the effects of major public works in the Old City. It is true that these are carried out under particularly difficult technical conditions. The streets are mostly very narrow (often less than two or three metres wide) and the flow of pedestrians and merchandise must be maintained during the works. The subsoil is extremely variable in texture and insecure, for it often consists of layers of debris that have built up over more than two millennia, several metres thick and encumbered with walls, old pipes, cisterns still in use or filled in, etc. The foundations of houses rest on this debris and are shallow in many cases. In the low-lying districts of this city, damp and salt seep into the mortar of the walls. All of this explains why the vernacular structures are often fragile. Excavations carried out at the base of their walls can destabilize them.
The fact that relatively few complaints were lodged, at least to my knowledge and according to information from both the Waqf architects and the municipal authorities, is an indication that the work was generally carried out with due attention to the nature of the neighbouring buildings. However, the emergence of new damage as time passes should not be ruled out. Settling of the soil after excavations can be slow, and is likely to be more pronounced after a heavy rainy season. Moreover, the laying of new drains at a deeper level than previously is creating a new land drainage system which could accentuate soil subsidence.
The Arab authorities and dignitaries complain of difficulties experienced by the population in obtaining reparation for damage caused to houses by these public works. The municipality has allegedly been warning the owners concerned that they should carry out the necessary repairs themselves or have them done by the municipal services, at their own expense. According to these warnings, financial compensation is out of the question. However, according to Mr. Yaarcovi, one seriously damaged house has been rebuilt at the municipality's expense.
According to the same Arab sources, when the state of a building is so bad that repairs will not suffice and rebuilding is necessary, or when the owner deliberately opts for this solution because it is more in keeping with the use he wishes to make of his property, it is practically impossible to obtain a building permit. The fact that certain houses were demolished following installation of public utilities is allegedly attributable to this situation. Questioned on this issue, an Israeli architect explained that the difficulty lay not in the impossibility of obtaining the permit per se, but in the fact that any construction plan in Israel requires plans drawn up or countersigned by an architect of Israeli nationality. This requirement is in force in the Old City of Jerusalem since it is considered by the Israeli authorities to be Israeli territory. Arab owners and the Waqf in particular allegedly refuse, for obvious political reasons, to comply with this requirement.
Despite these difficulties many houses have been restored or consolidated by owners or tenants, with or without municipal aid. However, a significant number of cases remain which have not been satisfactorily settled.
Buildings of doubtful stability have in many cases been reinforced by flying buttresses built above the street, as has been customary in Jerusalem for centuries. In this connection, it must be pointed out that an overabundance of these buttresses is likely to change the landscape of some of the city's picturesque streets too much, and alter their traditional appearance and balance.
According to a report prepared in 1985 by East Jerusalem Development Ltd., which is responsible for planning and carrying out the work, the following work was done to renew the infrastructure, paved areas and amenities inside the Suleyman the Magnificent enclosure:
-renewal of infrastructure
-underground telephone cables
-underground television cables
-electric power substations
-buildings demolished because too unstable
This work covers virtually all the Armenian, Jewish and Christian quarters and a large part of the Arab quarter, except for the north-eastern sector of the city bordered by the old East Decumanus (E1 Wad Street) and the Via Dolorosa. In this sector only Bab Hutia Street and a few side-streets have been improved.
Resurfacing of streets
Before work began, the surface of Jerusalem's streets was made up of a variety of materials: remains of paving stones from different areas and, primarily, bituminous products. The street surface, generally in an unsatisfactory condition, remains unchanged in those parts of the city that have not yet been renovated. It has been destroyed by extensive work elsewhere. The new surface is made up of slabs of natural Jerusalem stone. The design of the paving is pleasingly simple. That of the 'Via Dolorosa' is somewhat more complex than the others. The stations of the 'Way of the Cross' are suggested on the ground by semi-circles of the same stone on the same pattern as the paving as a whole.
Here and there, fragments of the ancient surface, found at a lower level, have been incorporated in the new pavement, especially opposite the Our Lady of Zion convent and on Christian Quarter Road in the vicinity of the Holy Sepulchre. These stones, which may have been trodden by the procession going up to Golgotha in 33 A.D., are relics that Christians view with emotion. The work seems to have been done to a satisfactory technical standard; aesthetically, it is pleasantly sober.
According to officials of East Jerusalem Development Ltd., some 33,400 square metres of new paving stones were laid in 1983.
A more important fixture, in the form of a small architect-designed square equipped with seats, has been built at the entrance to the Via Dolorosa, partly on the site of 'Birkat Israel', a large ancient water reservoir along the northern wall of Haram-al-Sharif. This reservoir was filled in during the British mandate for public health reasons. It is located on Waqf property and is used as a car park and collection site for refuse before its disposal outside the city. A redevelopment project including the planting of a rose garden was proposed by the municipality after the Waqf authorities had rejected an initial suggestion to cover the reservoir and instal a large underground car park to meet the heavy demand for parking facilities near one of the mayor entrances to the Old City. This project was rejected because the Waqf authorities feared that new excavations at the base of the Haram-al-Sharif enclosure would threaten the entire Holy City. Recognizing the importance of this car park, which will in particular, serve part of the Arab Quarter, they have decided to redevelop the site according to a plan drawn up in agreement with the municipality. Work is under way.
4.3 Alterations to the ramparts
Work had been under way since 1969 on the external parts of the ramparts built by Suleyman the Magnificent between 1537 and 1541. The work has now been completed. It comprised:
- clearance of the base of the rampart where it had been concealed by deposits of earth or rubble;
- exposure of the remains of earlier Hasmonean, Roman or composite walls, where adequately preserved, particularly along the western and southern facades;
- exposure of the remains of the Herodian and Byzantine city where the wall built in the sixteenth century crosses ancient urban areas, since, before its destruction by Titus in 70 A.D., the city was much more extensive than it is today;
- landscaping (plants, footpaths) of the area between the ramparts and the various roads bypassing the historic city;
- conversion of the area in front of the Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Old City, into a public plaza;
- excavation inside and behind the Damascus Gate, and presentation of the Gate inside the refurbished Roman and Ottoman rooms.
Nearly all these excavations and alterations have been carried out on expropriated lands. These expropriations have given rise to many complaints, regularly brought to the attention of the Director-General by the Jordanian Government.
The latest work, completed in the last two years, is the addition of an iron railing all along the covered way at the top of the inner face of the ramparts. This covered way has thus become accessible to tourists between St. Stephen's Gate to the east and Dung Gate to the south. Only that part of the rampart which merges with the southern and eastern wall of Haram-al-Sharif is not included in this long walk.
The work on the ramparts is part of a broader project to create a national park encompassing the Kidron Valleys, the slopes of the Mount of Olives and the area immediately surrounding the historic city wall. More than 200 hectares have been expropriated for that purpose, and have been the subject of several complaints lodged by the Jordanian Government with the United Nations and Unesco. Practically all the land adjoining the ramparts to the south, west and north has undergone changes. Rubble and debris that had piled up over the centuries at the foot of the walls have been removed. Excavations have brought to light the remains of earlier walls and, in the south, Byzantine and pre-Byzantine residential quarters. Vegetation has been planted and pathways provided for pedestrians. All this work is now finished.
Removal of television aerials
All the streets where new sewers have been laid are provided with underground cables for television transmission which is now operational in the Christian, Armenian and Jewish quarters; individual aerials in these quarters have accordingly been removed. Although an underground cable network exists in much of the Muslim quarter cable television has not yet been installed. According to the Mayor, part of the population is reported to be opposed to the project. The programmes broadcast in the Old City are the same as those in the other areas of the municipality of Jerusalem that are equipped with cable television facilities. According to the same source, they include two Jordanian and two Egyptian programmes in addition to the two Israeli ones.
The fabric of the vernacular habitat
While a city's glory lies in its monuments, it is the fabric of its streets and alleys lined with traditional dwellings that determines its atmosphere and spirit. In Jerusalem, the vernacular architecture has been characterized for many centuries both by the material it uses, i.e. beautiful golden limestone, and by its domed roofs and arched twin-light windows. Both in physical and aesthetic terms, this architecture has resisted the onslaught of time. The local government and some of the inhabitants are conscious of its merits and importance in preserving the specific character and spirit of the Old City of Jerusalem. Current regulations are designed to safeguard this architecture and prevent so-called 'modern' buildings, which would spoil the character of the Old City, from being erected in the city. It is therefore unfortunate that the most flagrant lapse as regards this excellent principle has been the reconstruction of the section of the Jewish Quarter facing the Haram-al-Sharif and the Wailing Wall. A number of buildings, because of their size and architectural style, are out of keeping with the unpretentiousness and spirit of a site that is of such importance to the followers of several religions.
The Jewish Ouarter
The Jewish Quarter occupies approximately 9.5 hectares in the western part of the Old City, north of the ancient Maghrib quarter which was destroyed in 1967 in order to open up the area around the Wailing Wall. It was very seriously damaged during the 1948 war. As soon as it took the Old City in 1967, the Israeli Government decided to evict its Arab inhabitants, expropriate the whole of the area and restore it. Priority is given in this quarter to the establishment of synagogues and Jewish religious and educational institutions. Although the population was previously mixed, the present occupants are exclusively Jewish. According to works on the history of Jerusalem prior to 1948, this had been the preferred area of the city's Jewish population since the sixteenth century. At the beginning of this century it contained a fairly large number of synagogues and yeshivahs. The two large Ashkenazi and Sephardic synagogues, the 'Nissam Bak' and 'Hurva' were founded there many years ago. They were both rebuilt in the middle of the nineteenth century and subsequently destroyed in 1948.
Large-scale operations have been carried out in this part of the city over the past 20 years, consisting mainly of:
- the restoration, reconstruction or preservation of ruins of architectural, historical or religious importance;
- the restoration of old houses that escaped destruction during the war and were not demolished subsequently;
- the construction of a large number of new houses;
- the restoration and laying out of open spaces;
- the restoration, improvement and partial reconstruction of the section of the ancient 'Cardo' which traditionally
separated the Jewish quarter from the Armenian quarter;
- important excavations directed by Professor Avigad.
All this work has been finished or is nearing completion.
The overall structure of the present-day Jewish Quarter remains largely true to that of former times, at least in spirit if not in the strict detail of its forms. The layout and dimensions of the main streets have been respected. However some open spaces have been enlarged and new ones cleared. A large space has been cleared in the centre of the Quarter where the greatest destruction took place; the poor state of conservation of the remaining houses meant that they were demolished rather than restored. It is an open question whether this area should be partially rebuilt or conserved such as it is today.
As regards layout, the nature and proportions of the surrounding open spaces, and the importance of volumes and materials, the Jewish Quarter is being rebuilt so as to form a normal part of the urban fabric of the Old City. The approach in dealing with open spaces, street surfacing and lighting and ancillary equipment, etc. is similar to that adopted in other parts of the city. Here and there archaeological remains brought to light during reconstruction and restoration work or excavations are displayed to advantage. The building density appears to have increased, but in the absence of detailed documents it is impossible to ascertain whether this is indeed the case.
6.2 Restoration and reconstruction of houses
It is difficult to draw a line between the restoration and reconstruction of houses, as a great deal of 'restoration' work is in fact tantamount to rebuilding. As far back as 1971 attention was drawn to certain scientific shortcomings in the work in progress. No attempt was made to remedy the situation. Instead of presenting a genuinely ancient appearance, this area gives an impression rather of 'new made to look old'. However the unity of the materials (Jerusalem stone), the proportions, the volumes and the architectural forms undoubtedly make for coherence. Admittedly it is regrettable that houses that could have been preserved and restored were destroyed and replaced by new buildings and that some houses in ruins that could have been restored were sacrificed in order to facilitate excavation work. It must be acknowledged, however, that the overall appearance of the area today respects the traditional values of the Old City.
The enormous buildings erected on the eastern side of the Jewish Quarter, facing the Haram and the al-Aqsa Mosque, constitute most regrettable exceptions to the traditional scale of values, which has been judiciously upheld elsewhere in the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter. These two buildings are separated by the Valley of Tyropeon, which is partly taken up by the esplanade built in front of the Wailing Wall in 1967. Before 1948, the site of the present buildings was occupied by several yeshivahs, (the most important being Porat Yosef) which were already far larger than the usual type of building. The new constructions are totally out of proportion, their facades rising to a height of 10 storeys! Their architectural style is aggressive and bears no relation to the historical values of Hierosolymitan architecture. In the author's view their construction seems to be an error which will affect for a long time to come the overall aspect of the city and that of the area opened up by the laying out of the equally disproportionate esplanade in front of the Wailing Wall.
The great Nissam Bak and Hurva synagogues have not been rebuilt. Their ruins have been consolidated and they are preserved as they stand. On the other hand, other more modest synagogues have been restored (Istambull, Benzakkai, etc.). During the course of the work the remains of a Christianchurch built by the Crusaders were identified -the Church of St. Mary of the Germans. The ruins have been consolidated and are presented in a well-kept garden.
6.4. An important monument situated at the northernmost point of the Quarter is the ancient 'Cardo' of the second-century Roman city. Over the centuries, and, certainly as early as the period of the Crusaders, it was rebuilt and turned into a covered market with a vaulted roof, the remains of which survived in the welter of partly mined buildings left by the war.
As early as 1971, the municipality announced that it wished to reconstruct these markets and organized a competition for this purpose. The initial project provided for a totally new building; extensive changes were made to it in order to preserve the noteworthy features of former buildings and incorporate them in it. A part of the medieval markets was thus conserved, booths from the Roman (or rather Byzantine) 'Cardo'. All these remains were conserved and incorporated in the new structure. Several bays were restored to their former position with the original columns. The structure as a whole was protected by a new roof consisting of a concrete shell. The market's trading function has been restored to it. Dwellings forming part of the Jewish Quarter have been built above it. Most of them embellished with hanging gardens and terraces shaded by climbing plants.
6.5. The very extensive
in this area have been halted since 1978. No new site has been opened since then and Professor Avigad, who is responsible for archaeological research in the area, has no new projects. Efforts have since been made to ensure that a number of important archaeological discoveries are preserved and enhanced. For instance, a 20-metre-long stretch of the foundations of the second city wall, dating back to the period of the Kings, can be seen in an open trench along a street site. Other remains have been conserved and are presented in the substructures of reconstructed buildings. The remains of the Nea, a famous church built in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian and the 'burnt-out house', a moving example of a Roman dwelling destroyed when Emperor Titus burnt the city in the year 1O have been conserved and made accessible in this way.
A further example is a group of several Jewish patrician dwellings, which also date back to before the year 70; not only the cellars but also part of the ground-floor walls decorated with paint or stucco have been exposed. These remains are conserved in the substructures of a new Yeshiva and will soon be made accessible to the public.
Excavations in other sectors of the City
Excavations have been going on in Jerusalem for over a century, carried out mainly by the British, the French and the Americans. In 1967, at the time of the Six-Day War, an important campaign directed by two famous archaeologists, Kathleen Kennyon and Reverend Father R. de Vaux, O.P. was under way. It had been launched in 1964. Drilling work was carried out to the south of the Haram-al-Sharif and on the Ophel hill, which were the initial sites of the Holy City. These excavations ended in October 1967 with the agreement of the Israeli authorities who were occupying the territory.
On the initiative of the Hebrew University and the Department of Antiquities, a vast programme of exploration began in 1968 in the newly conquered Hierosolymitan substratum. Not only the nature but also the scale of all these
excavations differ. It is as well. then, to divide them into separate categories.
7.1 Excavations based on systematic scientific planning
This section deals with excavations that are not undertaken for reasons of urgency, because for instance of the danger that buried remains might be destroyed by engineering, building or other types of work, as was the case of the excavations in the Jewish Quarter.
7.1.1 The most important and spectacular excavations of this type were undertaken in 1968 to the
south and south-east
of the Haram-al-Sharif
, under the direction of Professor B. Mazar. Kathleen Kennyon and Reverend Father R. de Vaux had carried out a number of archaeological probes on this site, without any appreciable result. Following the systematic exploration of an area measuring over two hectares, Mazar discovered a group of very important remains ranging from the period of the Kings up to that of the Umayyads. A large part of these excavations were carried out on open land but they also extended to part of the area previously occupied by the Maghrib quarter, most of which was demolisned in June 1967 on the initiative of David Ben-Gurion as part of the operation designed to open up the Wailing Wall. As a direct result of the extension of these excavations, at least two historical buildings from the Mameluke period were demolished, the Zawylah-al-Kakhrya and the house of Abu Sa'ud, which were close to the gate connecting this area with the Haram-al-Sharif esplanade, as well as a school built by the Jordanian Government around 1960, which was being used as a Rabbinical Court at the time it was destroyed in 1973. These excavations were carried out on land that was Arab property, without the prior agreement of the owners, or on land that was expropriated to this end. The passions aroused by these acts of destruction and the complaints lodged in this connection by the Jordanian Government lie at the origin of the decision taken by the Director-General of Unesco to send Professor G. de Angelis d'Ossat to Jerusalem in 1969, and, commencing in 1971, Professor R. Lemaire.
The successive resolutions adopted by the General Conference and by the Executive Board since 1969 are concerned mainly with these excavations, which have been halted since the beginning of 1977.
Despite the criticisms of certain specialists, it must be acknowledged that these excavations are based on a sound scientific methodology. The findings are of exceptional importance for the history of Jerusalem since its origins and up to and including the Umayyad period.
In 1981 and 1982 extensive improvements were made to part of this archaeological site. They included conservation and consolidation work, for which there was, in principle, a clear need. Unfortunately, the way in which this work was tackled, was, to say the least, highly debatable. Professor Meir Ben-Dov of the Hebrew University was in charge of the operation. Over and above the safeguarding of the site, his intention was to make it 'intelligible' to visitors. The site is, indeed, extremely complex, consisting as it does of many archaeological layers extending over 1,500 years of history. Unfortunately the 'clarification' of the archaeological evidence has taken the form of vast archaeological reconstructions, in a number of instances and extremely risky venture. Walls several metres high have been built up, and vaults and ceilings reconstructed. The stark nature of the rebuilt parts certainly makes it possible to distinguish the new from the old but at the same time considerably disrupts the harmony of the site. The authentic remains have disappeared under the piling up of recent contributions. The authenticity of the site, which, over an area of a few hundred square metres, recounts the entire history of Jerusalem has been seriously affected. As far back as 1975 the author warned of the danger, in terms of the scientific credibility of the excavations, of reconstructing, in their entirety, the steps of the staircase leading to one of the great entrances of the Temple precincts and raising columns whose initial location was unknown. What has since been done goes far beyond the operations carried out at that time, which already gave rise to problems concerning the scientific approach adopted and the methods of execution.
The work carried out by Professor Meir Ben-Dov has aroused a great deal of criticism in Jerusalem and has been a source of concern both for the authori-ties and for his Israeli colleagues. The Professor's intentions were sound and his aim was to display remains from all periods to equal advantage, from the Kings up to the Ummayyads. The method and the architectural and aesthetic approach adopted are, however, unacceptable. In view of the disastrous outcome of these operations and the numerous protests to which they have given rise both in Jerusalem and abroad, the Mayor of Jerusalem has decided to dismantle the majority of the additions to the original remains. It should be added that another part of the excavation site containing important remains - including tombs from the period of the Kings, impressive remains of the monumental staircase which in Herodian times connected the Valley of Tyropeon with the Temple esplanade, and imposing remnants of three Ummayyed palaces - is in a state of neglect.
Excavations in the Citadel
Excavations have been carried out in the Citadel since the period of the British Mandate, the most recent, under the direction of R. Amian and A. Eitan, dating back to 1968-1969. The site was re-opened around 1980 as part of the work of completely refurbishing the building housing the Municipal Museum of the City of Jerusalem. Remains that were already known dating back to Hasmonean and Herodian times were again exposed. The idea was to display them by making considerable changes in the layout of the inner courtyard of the medieval Citadel. The ponderous nature of these remains of ancient edifices clashes seriously with the architecture of the medieval monument. In the case in point the desire to 'show everything' is satisfied to the detriment both of the intelligibility of the archaeological material displayed and of the later structure that houses them. The interiors of certain rooms in the Citadel are currently being altered in order to improve the presentation of the collections.
Excavations at the Damascus Gate
The Damascus Gate, on the northern side of the city walls, is the main entrance to the Old City. It dates back to the sixteenth century and rises above the monumental remains of a second-century Roman gate, the front of which was cleared at the time of the Mandate. Work was carried out between 1978 and 1985 in order to open up the rear part of the gate and clear out the inner rooms which had become filled with earth and rubble over the centuries. An oil press from the Byzantine period was found in one of the rooms. The entire Roman infrastructure of the Damascus Gate is accessible to the public.
7.1.5 Excavations were carried out in 1971-1972, with the agreement of the Armenian religious authorities who owned the land, in the
gardens of the
Armenian Ouarter and those of the Convent of the Saviour, which was built on the site facing the house of Caiaphas. The excavations were carried out under the responsibility of B. Bahat and M. Broshi.
The halting of planned excavations
All excavations in the Arab sector of Jerusalem were stopped in 1978.
7.2 Excavations of sites endangered by public works or building construction
Any inhabited locality, whatever its current legal or political status, requires constant improvements and all the more so at a time of rapidly changing needs such as ours. In addition, Jerusalem has suffered considerable war damage. In view of the exceptional archaeological wealth of the entire subsoil of the city, any major renovation or reconstruction work carried out without prior excavations would have meant the definitive destruction of the only available fresh source of information throwing light on the history of a city of vital significance to hundreds of millions of people, whether Christians, Muslims or Jews.
A series of excavations has been conducted in Jerusalem on this account.
7.2.1 The excavations carried out in the
referred to earlier fall into this category.
7.2.2 Archaeological probes were carried out at the same time as the
renewal of sewers and water mains
in several streets of the Christian and Muslim Quarters, resulting in isolated discoveries.
Excavations on the Ophel hill
. Removals of backfill, excavations and consolidation of archaeological remains have been carried out in this sector south of the ramparts, on the site of the original city of Jerusalem. This area has been extensively excavated since the beginning of the century, the last diggings being those of August 1967 and 1968 by Kathleen Kennyon, the British archaeologist who worked for a long time in Jerusalem in co-operation with Father de Vaux, director of the Ecole Biblique.
The excavation rubble heaped up on the hillside became unstable and, in 1976, caused four fatal accidents. The municipality thereupon decided to remove it. On the same occasion, some walls previously brought to light and which had been in a pitiable state of conservation, were consolidated and presented to good effect. Most of the land concerned belongs to the Jewish municipality of Jerusalem, the gift of the Rothschild family, which had bought it before 1914, in order to facilitate excavation work.
What was originally an operation required for obvious safety reasons - children having been killed by a landslip - accompanied, in view of the exceptional archaeological importance of this site, by probes and maintenance, consolidation and presentation work on the remains previously brought to light, became a classic excavation. It was conducted with science and method but involved a risk of creating new safety problems. A system for monitoring the stability of the remaining earthfill was installed and the landscaping of the area completed in 1986. Work has been finally halted in this sector and no fresh excavation is planned.
The status of excavations
It is not easy to Judge the legal status of all these excavations in relation to international agreements. The only valid Juridical reference is the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,
, Article 5.2 of which provides that: 'Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation'.
Only the excavations carried out in the Jewish Quarter could, on the basis of a broad interpretation, meet this stipulation since the quarter was demolished as a result of warfare. Judging from photographs and on-the-spot observations, the state of the ruins constituted a public danger and the restoration or reconstruction decided upon by the Israeli political authorities amounted to a measure of preservation necessary for the safeguarding of historic buildings woven into a very dense urban fabric. Furthermore, failure to excavate would have resulted in the irreparable destruction of exceptionally important remains -as borne out by the discoveries made -contained in the subsoil referred to earlier.
Other excavations may be justified under ordinary law whereby the occupying Power has a duty to ensure safety and health in the areas occupied. Such action includes the replacement of sewers so inadequate and in such disrepair that they burst regularly, and the removal of unstable earth that has caused fatal accidents and constitutes a danger to the public. It is hard to deny that, in a site whose subsoil is exceptionally rich in archaeological remains, such works must be accompanied by probes strictly necessary for the safeguarding of the 'archives of the soil'. In some cases, however, the extent of such works may give rise to confusion.
The clear implication of these comments is that no legal justification may be invoked for excavations undertaken solely in pursuit of archaeological research, such as those conducted by Professor B. Mazar to the south and west of the Haram-al-Sharif, or for those that accompanied the restoration of the city ramparts.
The Recommendation on international principles applicable to archaeological excavations, adopted by the General Conference of Unesco at its ninth session in New Delhi in 1956, stipulates in Article 32 that 'any Member States occupying the territory of another State should refrain from carrying out archaeological excavations in the occupied territory'. Although this text carries no legal weight it is morally binding on the countries that voted for it, which included Israel. The same article provides that 'the occupying Power should take all possible measures to protect [chance] finds' made, particularly during military works. Can this principle be applied by extension to excavations made in areas whose subsoil is threatened by new construction operations or by infrastructure works in an occupied territory? It is difficult to establish whether such a hypothesis complies with the spirit of the Recommendation, for its authors clearly did not envisage a long-term military occupation of the kind that has been in effect for twenty years in the region.
The tunnel along the west wall of the Haram-al-Sharif
The tunnel was started under the Muslim Quarter in 1968, on the initiative of the Rabbinate and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, in order to clear a strip of the surrounding wall of the Temple Mount. The initial stage of the work lasted until about 1975. The tunnel is in the form of a gallery averaging one to two metres in width and three to six or seven metres high according to the nature of the subsoil encountered.
This operation produced strong reactions in the Arab world, not only on account of the violation of ownership constituted by the digging of a tunnel under another's property but also owing to the damage caused by soil movements to historic monuments, of which there are many in the area, and to the exceptionally dense housing. It was also feared that a breach of one kind or another discovered in the wall might afford access beneath the Haram itself.
A complete halt to tunnelling a few years ago and the reinforcement of the underground gallery, together with consolidation of the Madrasa al-Jawhariyya and Ribat Kurd buildings, two monuments dating from Mameluke times which were fissured as a result of subsidence under their foundations, calmed the dispute.
Work resumed in 1981. At that time the tunnel was lengthened by at least a hundred or so metres. Today it virtually reaches the north-west corner of the Haram, which in Herodian times was the site of the famous Antonia fortress, and its total length is 305 m. The tunnel extension was mainly dug in earth mixed with rubble and passes through a number of ancient cisterns that are hard to date. It comes to a dead end formed by an angle of the rock carrying the walls of the fortress, whose foundations have been cleared. In common with the rest of the Herodian wall of the Haram, the masonry here is constituted by enormous blocks of carefully hewn stones, some weighing over 200 tonnes. It may be considered that, other than by cutting into solid rock, the tunnel cannot be extended any further. Its total length, including the rooms beneath the Madrasa al-Tankiziyya, is approximately 340 m. Its average depth below ground level is 8 to 9 m. The tunnel has been reinforced throughout with steel and concrete. The digging of the tunnel has nothing to do with any archaeological research programme and did not follow scientific excavation methods. Its only justification is on religious grounds.
Since the work of digging the tunnel began, visible damage has occurred in some buildings above it. The most extensive damage caused by the initial phase of operations affected more particularly the Madrasa al-Jawhariyya and the Ribat Kurd; the second phase caused cracks in the walls and the collapse of part of the great staircase of the Madrasa al-Manjakiyya, also built in the fourteenth century.
The destabilization of some buildings above the tunnel is caused by the settling of the soil between the 'vault' of the tunnel and the foundations of the buildings overhead. This layer of earth is generally several metres thick. It is made up of heterogeneous materials, accumulated over the centuries whose stability may be jeopardized by tunnelling, particularly when winter rains drain through. This settling may occur throughout the long period necessary for fresh stabilization of all the subsoil layers. Recent evidence of this is provided by new instances of the subsidence of masonry in the Ribat Kurd building beneath which the tunnel was dug in about 1969 or 1970, despite the reinforcement of the tunnel and of the building.
The worst damage has been observed in the Ribat Kurd and, recently, in the Madrasa al-Manjakiyya. The walls and the vaults of the monument cracked and part of the great staircase collapsed. The damage has since been repaired, but the building does not yet seem to have been permanently stabilized. The Madrasa al-Manjakiyya is situated above a widened section of the tunnel which at that point incorporates some high cisterns whose vaulting was considerably weakened and therefore constitutes a fragile infrastructure for the building above it. Since the level at which the tunnel was dug remained constant, at certain points the earth has been excavated well below the walls of cisterns. These therefore rest on banked-up rubble which, though well compacted, is cut off vertically in the plane of the walls. This very dangerous situation noted in November 1983 was at the time the subject of a serious warning. Since then everything has been consolidated by reinforced concrete sheathing. The structure of the tunnel is now strong and there is no danger of the building above it collapsing. However, it is very probable that slight movements will continue to cause cracks in the edifice for some time to come, probably for several years.
The digging of the tunnel has in the past been a constant source of discord between the religious authorities who took the initiative in the matter, and other administrations including the Office of the Mayor of Jerusalem and the National Antiquities Service. The Israeli press has frequently reported this friction. Upon energetic representations by the Mayor of the city to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Religious Affairs, confirmation of the total halt to the work promised by the Minister to the personal representative of the Director-General of Unesco was obtained. This decision was officially confirmed and a total halt to the tunnelling work has been noted. Since April 1984, in fact, there has been no lengthening or broadening of the tunnel. The collapse of the Madrasa al-Manjakiyya staircase occurred during the consolidation works and demonstrates, if such evidence were needed, both the difficulties and the dangers involved in such operations, which neither safeguarding considerations nor scientific research needs justify.
A new development occurred in March 1987. During the most recent consolidation work, part of the ceiling of the tunnel at the northern end collapsed opening up a passage into another tunnel running north, a good hundred metres long and ending in the southern part of a huge ancient cistern located at the intersection of the Via Dolorosa and A1 Wad Street, beneath the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. This tunnel was known, but its existence had seemingly been forgotten since no Israeli archaeologist has mentioned it in connection with the albeit highly controversial matter of the recent tunnel. Warren and Schick had, in fact, discovered it and explored it, respectively, in 1865 and in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They carefully surveyed it and mention it in their studies. It seems that the Islamic authorities of the city were vaguely aware of it, for in 1983 they informed the representative of the Director-General that they feared the existence of a possible means of access starting from a vast cistern situated outside the Haram at the north-east angle of the wall; an old tunnel running along the line of the east wall of the sanctuary was thought to end in that underground room. The tunnel might afford a means of passage beneath the rock and it was feared, furthermore, that the religious authorities that had sponsored the digging of the tunnel might cut through the rock blocking it to link the two tunnels.
The rediscovered tunnel consists of a deep cut, less than a metre wide and up to eight metres high, in the solid rock and is opened by large stone slabs. It seems to have been originally intended to bring water to the Temple Mount. It was cut across by the construction of the Herodian wall and has therefore been out of use for nearly two thousand years at least.
In Warren's time the tunnel served as a cistern for sewage water; traces of this can still be seen today.
A series of smaller conduits lead out from the tunnel, as does a sequence of two underground rooms, the further one leading to an opening in the wall of the Haram-al-Sharif. A concrete slab seals off the entrance to it.
Inspection immediately following this discovery showed that no recent work had been done in the rediscovered tunnel or rooms. The Waqf authorities were immediately informed and their representatives made an on-the-spot inspection, also visiting the entire recently dug tunnel and the adjacent rooms brought to light or cleared. Talks are in progress between the parties concerned to consider whatever measures may be necessary to ensure that no fresh danger of access to the Haram is presented by any of these tunnels.
Tunnels beneath the Haram-al-Sharif
Access beneath the esplanade or the buildings of the Haram through openings in the precinct wall or through little-known old tunnels running underneath has been a constant source of concern to the Muslim authorities of the Holy Place over the past 15 years.
The present condition of the two existing points of access which are known has been examined on several occasions. They are sealed by solid masonry. The first of these is Warran Gate, an old Herodian entrance gate to the Temple esplanade which has survived in the lower part of the western wall. It could be reached through an original door opening into the tunnel which has been dug along this wall in recent years. Over the centuries this door was walled up and the tunnel which runs under the esplanade from the door was converted into a cistern. The old wall sealing the door was pierced six years ago by the excavators of the tunnel. It was resealed by the Haram authorities from their side with a wall of concrete; on the tunnel side the opening was closed by a solidly if somewhat carelessly constructed wall of concrete blocks.
Demolition in the Old City
The only major planned demolition in the Old City has been that of the -
located to the west of the Haram-al-Sharif. This was begun immediately after the taking of the Old City by Israeli forces in June 1967. The intention at that time was to clear the area around the famous Wailing Wall, which is the most precious religious relic of the Jewish religion in Jerusalem. Until then, access to the Wall, which was enclosed in a narrow court, was relatively difficult. The Israeli Government wished to enhance the Wall, providing it with a setting in keeping with the reverence which it inspires in Jewish believers. Old photographs show that the demolished quarter was less dense than those adjoining it.
It consisted of buildings in the vernacular style similar to - though poorer than - those in the adjoining streets which still exist. The main thoroughfare, which led to the Maghrib Gate of the Haram, ran past two fine Mameluke buildings which were destroyed in 1969. It was at that time, in fact, that the demolition of the quarter was continued in order to clear the excavation sites. The total area of the demolished quarter was roughly one hectare, 15 acres (11,500 square metres).
Several houses adjoining the esplanade of the Wailing Wall were demolished between 1971 and 1978 to improve access and also to facilitate the laying of the new main sewer which had become essential because of the incidents caused by the age and inadequacy of the old system.
The demolition of the Maghrib Quarter left a yawning gap in the urban fabric. Several projects were therefore developed to give the site more harmonious proportions, a less chaotic appearance and an atmosphere which would reinforce its great significance for the Jewish religion. None of these projects was ever started. They do however explain the policy of the municipality in acquiring, through purchase or expropriation, the Arab properties surrounding the esplanade, mainly in the narrow strip between it and the Jewish Quarter. This policy gave rise to tension, exemplified in the case of the
Zawiva Abu Madvan
, the property of the Moroccan Waqf, which the city attempted to acquire. The pressure to which its owners was subjected was the subject of a complaint submitted by the Jordanian Government to the Director-General. The Israeli authorities have now given up the idea of this purchase.
Muslim fears concerning the Haram-al-Sharif
Several recent events have made the Islamic authorities of the Haram increasingly concerned for their rights and the safeguarding of the remarkable Muslim religious and monumental heritage concentrated within the Haram-al-Sharif
It will be recalled that the Haram-al-Sharif has a religious history of unique significance for two thousand million Muslim, Christian and Jewish believers. Mount Moriah on which it is located is the site where King Solomon built the first temple in honour of Jehovah almost 3,000 years ago. Herod the Great rebuilt this temple shortly before our era and gave the site its present form which is that of a vast terrace (12 hectares) surrrounded by enormous walls resembling a fortress with gates reached in some cases by monumental bridges crossing the valley of the Tyropeon. After the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the site remained in ruins until the city was rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian in the year 135 under the name of Aelia Capitolina. Temples in honour of Jupiter, Minerva and Juno were built in the place of the Temple of Solomon. Some of these temples disappeared at the time of Constantine and were replaced by Christian oratories. Following the conquest of Jerusalem by the Caliph Omar in 638, the site renowned for its connection with the memory of the Prophet Mohammad was appropriated for Islamic worship. It has been used for that purpose ever since, with a break of nearly two centuries following the conquest of the city by the Crusaders in 1099. From the Middle Ages the Jews of Jerusalem, whose own religion forbade them access to the Temple Mount, have assembled for prayer along a short section of the western wall of the Haram, the famous Wailing Wall. Until 1967 this Wall was enclosed in a rather narrow court. Following the taking of Jerusalem in 1967 the area around the Wall was cleared by demolishing the Maghrib Quarter which obstructed the view. Further clearance was undertaken in 1970 with the demolition of the madrassas dating from the Mameluke period which lined the access road to the Maghrib Gate, the southernmost gate on the western side of the Haram.
Awareness of these historical facts is important for an understanding of the origin of the extreme tension which exists between Jews and Arabs with regard to the Holy Place shared by the two religions. This tension was slight and hardly noticeable before 1967 when the city was administered by the Muslim authorities. The taking of the city by Israel reversed the situation. Today the city is under Jewish control. Since then certain Jewish sects have reasserted their 'historical and religious rights' over the site of the only temple of the Jewish religion. They have instigated acts of aggression against the Haram although its Muslim ownership and sole use for the purpose of Islamic worship are guaranteed by Israeli law. A special unit of the Israeli police controls access to the Haram 24 hours a day in co-operation with the Muslim guard.
Several recent incidents illustrate and/or explain the present tension. The first was the attempted armed occupation of the Haram on 13 April 1982 by Allan Goldman. This assault was mounted by a single man, according to the legal inquiry, but it caused several deaths by gunfire among the Arab population and damaged the Dome of the Rock. On 7 April 1983 Goldman, who was found guilty and responsible for his acts, was condemned to death by the Israeli courts. This attack on the Holy Place greatly disturbed the Arab population of Jerusalem and is a cause of considerable concern to the Muslim religious authorities who express doubts regarding the Israelis' determination to apply the rigour of the law to the guilty party, which would mean, in actual fact, life imprisonment, since the death penalty has been abolished in Israel.
A second event which occurred one year later, was the attempt of some 40 young Jewish religious extremists to organize prayers within the Haram on a Friday, the Muslim day of prayer in al-Aqsa Mosque. This attempt failed before the group managed to enter the site of the Haram as the Israeli police had learned of the plan. The Israeli courts nevertheless took an extremely serious view of this affair. Twenty-nine of the 40 people involved in this bid were tried for conspiracy to breach the peace.
Other events in 1985 added to the tension. On 8 January 1985 the Chairman and members of the Home Affairs Committee of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) visited the Haram-al-Sharif. A prior request had been submitted to the Waqf authorities, who had given their agreement and had settled the detailed arrangements for the visit, including its form and the rules to be observed, with the Israeli authorities. Incidents occurred during the visit. Very different accounts are given by the parties concerned of their origin and cause. The Israeli police intervened on the site of the Haram following the incidents, the nature and scale of which it is difficult to assess retrospectively.
Another incident concerns an attempt to enter the Haram on Sunday, 19 January 1985 by a group belonging to the Kach movement led by Rabbi Meir Kahane. This religious group contests the validity of the government decision banning Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. In recent years they have made other similar attempts, which failed, in the same way as this one, at the gates of the precinct. These attempts are clearly condemned by the Israeli authorities, and the Israeli guards posted at the gates of the Haram have received instructions to forbid such entry to the site and, if necessary, to prevent it.
A third incident was reported shortly afterwards: an attempt to enter the precinct by digging a hole in the wall at the Ribat Kurd. According to mutually corroborative testimony of Arab and Israeli witnesses, a fanatical group entered a recess situated at the back of the inner courtyard of the Ribat Kurd and set about trying to dig an opening in the wall. At this spot, the wall is made up of large slabs of stone dating from the Herodian era and is several metres thick. They were surprised at the start of the operation by the Israeli police, who arrested them and closed the gate with a large padlock, the key of which is in their possession. In addition, the iron door was welded to its frame so as to prevent entry into the recess.
The tense atmosphere has also been maintained by the recent settlement of small Jewish religious communities in houses acquired in the Arab Quarter adjacent to the Haram. Until recently the Yeshivahs were all located in the Jewish Quarter where they had been for a long time. This tradition was broken between 1947 and 1976 when the city was divided into two political and administrative units. It was resumed after the Six-Day War. The policy of implanting Yeshivahs among the Muslim population is a new development. These small communities are very turbulent and sometimes even aggressive. Their settlement in the very heart of the Arab Quarter is considered as aggressive and has created considerable tension. According to the Mayor of the city these communities are closely supervised by the Israeli authorities.
Apparently they have also been informed by the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Grand Rabbis that they would be expelled from the Old City if their attitude continued to cause problems with the Muslim neighbourhood. These groups belong to religious persuasions of a somewhat extreme type. The very fact that they have deliberately decided to settle in an exclusively Arab quarter in the nearest available district to the Wailing Wall is a cause of concern to the high Muslim authorities who rightly or wrongly see it not only as an attack on the integrity of the area's population but also as the first step in a broader strategy of occupation which would in the long term include the Haram-al-Sharif itself.
The existence of such a strategy is formally denied both by the Ministry of the Interior and the Religious Affairs and by the Mayor of the city. The law referred to above which bans Jews from praying on the Haram-al-sharif for reasons of public order, the extreme firmness shown by the police to those Jews who, in spite of this ban, have attempted to enter the Haram in order to pray, the extremely severe punishment meted out by the courts to those found guilty of assaults on the Holy Place and the threats issued by the Grand Rabbis to expel the Yeshivah dwellers prove, in their view, the genuine nature of a policy inspired by an absolute respect for the Muslim sanctuaries and the Haram-al-Sharif in particular. The regular expression by religious groups, referred to even in the Israeli press as extremist, of their determination to reoccupy the Temple Mount, to pray there or even to rebuild the temple destroyed by Titus is seen by the Israeli authorities as the action of individuals which can only be subject to legal proceedings if attempt is made to carry out these intentions or if preparations are made which would facilitate such an attempt.
Clearly, attempts to occupy the Haram such as the one in March 1983, the attack on the Dome of the Rock by Allan Goldman in the spring of 1982, the fire at the al-Aqsa Mosque in 1968, memories of which are still very much alive, the digging of the tunnel along the west wall, the installation of the Yeshivahs in the Muslim Quarter, the regular assertion by certain religious authorities of the right of Jews to the site of the Temple of Solomon and the intention expressed by certain religious groups to rebuild the temple -which would imply the demolition of the Dome of the Rock -are all events which threaten the great Muslim sanctuary. They are the cause of the very genuine concern felt by the Muslim high authorities and population of Jerusalem for the future of the Holy Places. In their view, the legal and police protection established by the Israeli Government does not always provide an adequate and lasting guarantee. They believe that a shift in the Israeli political majority towards a more radical form of religious fundamentalism could produce an alarming reversal of the present policy. For all of these reasons they believe that the Haram is an endangered monument.
The conservation of the Muslim monuments
The al-Aqsa Mosque
The restoration of the monument, following the 1968 fire, has entered its last stage. Much of the work done in fact amounts to reconstruction rather than restoration in the usual sense of the term. There has been criticism, not without reason, of the marked lack of interest shown at the planning stage with regard to the safeguarding of the oldest features of the Mosque, some of which were damaged in the fire. Far too many of these very old parts have been sacrificed -for instance, the east transept, a fine example of medieval architecture dating back to the Crusades, has been replaced by a new structure in the neo-Fatimid style.
The approach, however, changed radically with the assignment of responsibility for the work eight years ago to an architect/civil engineer specializing in the conservation of historical monuments.
More exacting standards are reflected in the work in progress, although the adverse effects of former decisions continue to weigh on operations. It would be desirable, for example, for greater importance to be attached to the preservation of what remains of the Crusaders' contribution to the history of the monument, which served as a church for nearly a century. According to present-day conceptions concerning the protection of monuments, as expressed for instance in the 1964 Venice Charter, valid contributions from every century to the history of a monument should be preserved.
The stucco decoration of the cupola of the Mosque has been restored. Part of it was damaged in the fire and it has been reconstituted most carefully. Great care was taken in uncovering the original painted areas with the use of the most up-to-date methods, and in ensuring that all the original parts were preserved. The roof, which had been unsatisfactorily re-covered in aluminium 30 or so years ago, has once again been covered with lead sheets in accordance with the original design and technique. The mosaics and the marble inlay work are being restored. The quality of the work carried out gained international recognition with the presentation of the Aga Khan Award in 1986.
The Dome of the Rock
The building was hit by several bullets at the time of the attack perpetrated by Alan Goldman in 1982. Traces of them remain on the marble columns, the marble and ceramic facing on the walls and the windows. The damage was not extensive but some of it is beyond repair.
The main problem is that the surrounding side roofing is not watertight. As in the case of the cupola, the roofing was redone in the 'fifties, when a very old lead covering was replaced with gold-coloured aluminium strips. These strips have warped as a result of the considerable differences of temperature. The structure is no longer watertight and rainwater penetrates. The damp is beginning to cause serious damage to some of the painted ceilings, and urgent measures are required if considerable ravages are to be avoided.
Replacement of the whole of the roof covering, i.e. both the cupola and the surrounding area, is planned. It has been decided to use gold-coloured copper sheets, laid according to the design that existed before the large aluminium plates were used. An international public appeal was recently launched with a view to carrying out the work.
The Dome of the Chain
This small monument next to the Dome of the Rock is still awaiting urgent restoration work, which is due to begin in 1987.
12.4 The services of the Waqf have restored a series of beautiful Mameluke facades enclosing the Haram to the north. They have been carefully cleaned and repointed with lime grouting identical to that originally used. A facade close to the Bab al-Silsila, the Turba Jaliqiyya, has been restored. This project was less successful: the cutting of new stones was a difficult task, and the repointing was done with cement.
The quality of the work varies, but considerable efforts are being made compared to a few years ago, largely owing to the fact that the services of two architects specializing in conservation work and of a competent department of Islamic monuments are available locally.
12.5 On the Haram al-Sharif, the same team has undertaken restoration work on the small Mameluke temple of Qait Bay (fifteenth century). The stones of this elegant building were fixed together with iron clamps, rust from which had caused many stones to split. The building had to be partly dismantled and the damaged stones reassembled. This has been most successfully carried out.
12.6 Steps have also been taken to clean the famous Stables of Solomon, a huge underground hall consisting of 17 parallel vaults of differing lengths, with barrel vaulting and supported by impressive rows of columns. Two of the three south doors of the old Temple opened on to this huge substructure (the Triple Gate and the Single Gate). The present construction probably dates from the time of the Knights of Templar, whose monastery was situated above it. These halls had been taken over by pigeons, and enormous quantities of droppings had accumulated on the paving stones. The stables will in future be open to visitors to the Haram.
12.7 The Department of Islamic Antiquities of the Waqf has undertaken restoration work in the city of Jerusalem under very difficult conditions, given the impossibility of clearing these overcrowded buildings of their inhabitants and the lack of any scientific diagnosis of the causes of the chemical and physical deterioration of the construction materials. The work mainly concerns the facades and is being carried out by a small team of outstanding craftsmen, trained on the job, who have gradually acquired a sound technique for the structural consolidation of buildings and the replacement of materials damaged beyond repair. The following monuments have been restored so far: al-Madrasa al-Kilaniyya, al-Madrasa al-Muzhariyya, al-Madrasa al-Lonzhirlyya, the Tomb of Turkan Katum, Ribat Kurd, Ribat Beran Jamish, al-Madrasa al-Turkmaniyya, al-Madrasa al-Sarriyya, Khan-el-Sultan Market.
Work on the following monuments is scheduled to begin in 1987-1988: al-Madrasa al-Taziyya, al-Madrasa al-Jalikiyya including the Mootoconzawlyya Mausoleum, Saraiya-Sit-Tinshuq and the Khan-el-Sultan Market (second stage of the restoration work).
All the work done over the past five years has been carried out very carefully, following detailed drawings of the monuments and searching archaeological study. The restoration involved is difficult and requires great skill on the part of those undertaking it. The results are for the most part satisfactory, although in some cases it is open to doubt whether there has not been too much replacement of the old stonework, one of the aims of good restoration being to preserve as many original stones as possible. It is obviously difficult to judge properly after the event. It is also paradoxically open to doubt whether some of the stones left in place will resist the concentrated physical and chemical constraints to which they will certainly be subject, now that the surrounding stonework has been substantially renewed.
The task that remains to be accomplished is enormous. No secret should be made of the fact that apart from the monuments on the Haram, some of which are also awaiting restoration, the state of Jerusalem's Islamic heritage is bordering on disaster. Practically all the monuments belong to the religions or family Waqf and according to those responsible, these bodies lack funds for their maintenance, let alone their restoration.
One of them has analysed the causes of the situation as follows: 'Personally I attribute the decay of mausoleums to the following causes: first, physical phenomena such as rain, earthquakes, temperature, humidity and mossy plants, second, interference of man in those buildings, destroying some parts of them and adding new parts, while ignoring their historical and archaeological importance'.
The state of many of the masterpieces of Mameluke architecture in Jerusalem, such as al-Madrasa al-Taschtamuriyya, al-Madrasa and Turba Kilanlyya, the magnificent Khan-el-Sultan, which is currently being restored, and dozens of others unfortunately confirms this lucid analysis.
Without a systematic plan to safeguard these monuments based on an exhaustive inventory of the most important components of the Islamic heritage, as well as on a scientific diagnosis of their physical and architectural state and which will take into account the urgent need for protection measures the loss to Jerusalem's rich legacy of monuments may well be substantial within the space of a few years. However nothing could be worse than poor restoration work which would irrevocably destroy the archaeological and architectural value of the monuments, as well as their fragile and vulnerable beauty, as has already happened in certain cases. Much of this conservation and restoration work involves considerable technical difficulties. The complexity of Mameluke architecture, the considerable skill required to cut the stone, the frequently serious deterioration of the materials eroded by harmful salts and humidity raise problems that are extremely difficult to solve.
Moreover, mere restoration of facades is not sufficient to save this heritage. Admittedly the original design and elegance of the facades are restored to them, but the interiors cannot be tackled on the basis of artistic concepts nor can they offer the basic living conditions essential to health and hygiene, unless the buildings as a whole are rehabilitated and restored systematically. It should not be forgotten that the majority of the old buildings, mainly situated in the lower part of the city, are extremely damp and some of them - generally the most interesting from the architectural standpoint, particularly the Madrasas and the mausoleums - are neither intended for nor adapted to the considerable population density today. They lack the lighting, ventilation and amenities necessary to provide decent accomodation. In instances where facilities have been added, particularly sanitary installations, this has been done at the expense of essential architectural spaces and has had an extremely adverse effect. For centuries the drainage system for sewage water has been unsatisfactory, as a result of which both the walls and the floors are saturated with corrosive salts. These problems are compounded by the extreme humidity and the piling up of debris and rubbish in unoccupied premises and in courtyards. This analysis, which applies to a large number of extremely important Islamic monuments in Jerusalem, shows that superficial restoration work such as that confined to the facades, is totally inadequate as a means of ensuring their future.
The safeguarding and restoration of the Islamic monuments is a long-term undertaking calling for considerable financial resources that are far beyond the means of the authorities who are the owners or are responsible for their management - The Waqf of Jerusalem. The decision taken by the Executive Board of Unesco in October 1986 requesting the Director-General to launch an appeal to provide it with financial aid is consequently most timely.
The Holy Sepulchre
Restoration work on the Holy Sepulchre has been going on now for some 20 years (1961). In the aftermath of the Second World War, concern about the lamentable state of the momument led to co-operation between the three Christian denominations that own the monument. The work is coming to a close with the restoration of the Rotunda and the nineteenth-century cupola sur-mounting it. Apart from the vestiges of the church's rebuilding by Constantine Monomach in 1018 -as yet unrestored -this was the part most affected by the fires that have ravaged the monument throughout its existence. The work of restoration was certainly an extremely difficult venture; unfortunately, it cannot be said to be a success. Inside the monument a great many stones have been renewed or re-cut. The archaeological reconstruction is more in keeping with the nineteenth-century doctrines than with the principles of the Venice Charter. No attention has been paid to the authentic remains nor has any attempt been made to use modern techniques to conserve those features that could have attested to the archaeological accuracy of the renovated parts. No respect has been shown for the appointments accumulated over the centuries, e.g. the seventeenth-century Iconostasis. This annihilation of the monument's historical dimension is likely to continue if the authorities go ahead with the plan to uncover, behind the Calvary Chapel, the fragment of the rock of Golgotha that escaped the destruction of the sanctuary by Caliph Hakim in 1009. It would mean destroying part of the Crusader construction and the seventeenth-century paintings that now decorate the chapel vaults. The historical dimension, of immeasurable value in a monument of such importance, seems to have been totally disregarded during the restoration operation. It would be extremely regrettable if the rest of the work were to be carried out in the same spirit and with the same methods. Admittedly, the sanctuary should not remain fixed in its past, but new needs should be met through the adoption of solutions that will not irrevocably diminish an historical testimony that dates back to the very origins of Christianity.
The al-Aqsa Museum
is being reorganized and part of its collection is already on view, including some of the admirable manuscripts of the Koran that were saved with Unesco's help. However, the curator is anxious about the proper preservation of part of the collection and hopes to be able to have an Arab specialist trained with Unesco's assistance. This is certainly a much needed operation since such a specialist is desperately needed, among other things, for safeguarding the valuable archives in the al-Aqsa library which are being destroyed by the humidity of the premises in which they are kept and by the myrad insects that are consuming them. Despite his efforts, the Director of the library has no means of saving them on his own; their destruction would constitute an irreparable loss as regards the history of the city.
15. Considerable work has been done by the Director of the
in recent years. A great many manuscripts have been microfilmed and two catalogues published. There can be no doubt however, that the situation remains critical as regards the state of conservation of many manuscripts suffering damage from mould and insects. According to the Director, the situation is equally disquieting in other depositories in the city. There are no facilities or specialized personnel available locally to give the works the necessary treatment. Urgent measures are required if basic source material concerning the history of Jerusalem is to be saved. It might perhaps be desirable to consider the possibility of bringing all the Arabic manuscripts of Jerusalem together centrally in one of the buildings of the Haram, which should be equipped for the treatment and conservation of books. Given the humid conditions in all the ancient buildings on the site, the equipment required would certainly need to include an adequate air-conditioning plant. The purchase of equipment for treating the books and the training of specialized staff are matters of great urgency.
16. A Museum of Palestinian Folk Arts and Folklore was set up in 1979 in the Islamic Cultural Centre in Jerusalem. It is being most devotedly managed by its curator. Many traditional costumes and everyday objects or items used in crafts which have disappeared or are disappearing have been assembled there. The museum has no proper basic equipment and is short of specialized staff, particularly for the conservation and restoration of fabrics. The curator's task is made very difficult by the fact that the museum has no independent financial resources. There can, however, be no doubt that the creation of this museum was timely, since the very radical changes that are at present taking place in the Arab society of Jerusalem seem likely to result, very shortly, in the disappearance of many customs, particularly as regards traditional costumes and domestic equipment. It is important for the history of Arab culture of Jerusalem that evidence of these should be preserved.
IV. APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE
FINANCING OF THE WORKS FOR SAFEGUARDING THE ISLAMIC
CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
In order to ensure that his appeal is as effective as possible, the Director-General has initiated consultations concerning the arrangements that might be made to collect the funds for financing the works for safeguarding the Islamic cultural and religious heritage. He will launch his appeal as soon as the consultations have been completed.
In the text set out above the Director-General brings to the knowledge of the Executive Board all the information at his disposal as at 10 July 1987 concerning the implementation of the General Conference resolutions and the Executive Board decisions on the preservation of the cultural heritage of Jerusalem. The Director-General will continue to give this matter his close attention, and to do everything within his power to ensure that those resolutions and decisions are put into effect; he will spare no effort in the cause of the preservation of the city of Jerusalem, which is part of the cultural heritage of all mankind.