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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
20 August 1981



United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization
Executive Board
113 EX/12
PARIS, 20 August 1981
Original: French

Item 5.5.l of the
provislonal agenda


JERUSALEM AND THE APPLICATION OF 21 C/RESOLUTION 4/14

SUMMARY

In resolution 4/14 adopted at its twenty-first session, the General Conference invited the Director-General to keep a constant watch on the execution of the resolutions and decisions of the General Conference and Executive Board concerning Jerusalem and requested him to inform the Executive Board, at its 113th session, of developments in that matter. This document contains information in the possession of the Director-General at 13 August 1981.

I. INTRODUCTION

1. At its twenty-first session the General Conference considered the report of the Director-General on Jerusalem and the implementation of 20 C/Resolution 4/7.6/l3 (documents 21 C/97, 21 C/97 Add. and 21 C/97 Add.2) and adopted resolution 4/14, which is annexed hereto. The text of that resolution was communicated by the Secretariat to the Permanent Delegate of Israel under cover of a letter dated 13 January 1981. In the operative part of the resolution the General Conference:

"1. Reaffirms all the resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Conference and the Executive Board concerning the City of Jerusalem;

2. Vigorously condemns Israel for its continuing refusal to carry out those resolutions and decisions;

3. Endorses Security Council resolution 478, dated 20 August 1980, by which the Council:

'Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the "basic law" on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and, in particulars the recent "basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .

Decides not to recognize the "basic law" and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem...';

4. Invites Member States to withhold all recognition of the modifications made by Israel to the character and status of Jerusalem and to abstain from any act that might imply any recognition whatsoever of those modifications;

5. Invites the Executive Board to review developments in the situation regarding Jerusalem and to take any measures that it might consider appropriate, in conformity with the prerogatives conferred upon it by the Constitution;

6. Invites the Director-General to keep a constant watch on the execution of the resolutions and decisions of the General Conference and Executive Board concerning Jerusalem;

7. Recommends that the World Heritage Committee speed up the procedure for including the City of Jerusalem on the 'World Heritage List' and that it consider its inclusion on the 'List of World Heritage in Danger';

8. Thanks the Director-General for his efforts to secure implementation of Unesco's resolutions on the question of Jerusalem;

9. Requests the Director-General to inform the Executive Board, at its ll3th, session. of developments in this matter;

10. Decides to include this item on the agenda of its twenty-second session."

2. In resolution 4/O1, also adopted at its twenty-first session, the General Conference further authorized the Director General to ensure "the presence of Unesco in Jerusalem with a view to the preservation of the city and the site."


II. COMMUNICATION RECEIVED BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL


SUBJECT OF JERUSALEM

3. The Director-General has received from the Permanent Delegate of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Unesco a communication dated 16 January 1981 concerning the Muslim cemeteries next to the old wall of Jerusalem and the Haram al-Sharif. The text of the communications which was transmitted by the Secretariat to the Permanent Delegate of Israel to Unesco in a letter dated 18 February 1981, with a request for any comments he might wish to make, is reproduced below:

"I wish to bring to your attention a further stage in the Israeli plan to change the Islamic cultural monuments of Jerusalem.

1. Israel has taken over the Muslin cemeteries next to the old wall of Jerusalem and the Haram al-Sharif on the east, and has entered their character. They include the two cemeteries of the Bab ar-Rahma Gate and the Bab al-Yusufiyya Gate, which Israel has turned into a public warden in which it has opened what it calls the 'Israeli National Park'.

2. I should like to point out that the importance of these cemeteries lies not only in their being waqf (inalienable property) but also in their cultural similarity to the tombs of the companions of the Prophet who were buried in the second half of the eighth century of the Hijra. Israel's violation of these cemeteries thus represents aggression against crucial evidence of Islamic history and culture throughout the world.

3. The Park and similar projects are merely pretexts. Israel uses the pretexts of beautification and modernization to carry out archaeological excavations and demolish and destroy cultural landmarks and commit aggression against them, subsequently taking them over: whereas Unesco has condemned all such practices in its resolutions.

I hope that this information may be helpful to you in implementing Unesco's resolutions, in particular resolution 21 C/4/14 about the protection of the cultural heritage and property in Jerusalem."

4. At 13 August 1981 the Director-Genera1 had not received any communication on this subject from the Permanent Delegate of Israel to Unesco.


III. MISSION OF THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

5. In pursuance of 21 C/Resolution 4/i4, the Director-General instructed his personal representative Mr. Raymond Lemaire, Professor at the University of Louvain, to visit Jerusalem, and this he did from 3 to 7 August 1981. The mission was carried out after consultation with the Government of Israel.

6. Following his mission, Professor Lemaire delivered to the Director-General his report, which is reproduced in full below:

"1. Aims of the mission

The Jerusalem mission was carried out from 3 to 7 August. The purpose was to draw up a report on the safeguarding of the city's heritage of monuments and buildings. My attention was drawn to the following points in particular: the excavations, the safeguarding, restoration or rehabilitation operations carried out in the part of the city lying to the east of the Israeli borders and the considera-tion of a complaint lodged by the Jordanian Governrent with the Director-General concerning the violation and conversion into a national park of Muslim cemeteries situated along the eastern part of the old wall of the historic city.

I wish to thank the Government of Israel for the facilities and assistance extended to me for this mission.

2. Persons met

Mr Michael Elitzur, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs;

Mr Ovadia Sopher, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs;

Mr Gad Cohen, of the same Department;

Mr Avi Eytan, Director of Antiquities, Ministry of Cultural Affairs;

Mr. Brosch, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem;

Mr Yochi Mintzker, Architect in the Department of Antiquities;

Mr Pierre Bugod, Architect in charge of improvement operations in the historic city;

Professor A. Byran, Honorary Director of Antiquities;

Professor Ygal Shiloh, of the Hebrew Universily.

Mr Teddy Kollek, Mayor of Jerusalem, whom I should have liked to meet, was in Canada. In addition, and despite several attempts, I was unable to make any appointment with Professor Miazar and Professor Avigad, or with
Mr. Thabboub, Director of Waqf in Jerusalem.

3. Excavations

3.1 Jewish Quartet. There are no excavations or borings under way. Professor Avigad has just published, in Hebrew, the general report on thè excavations carried out by him in the sector in the last ten years. An English translation is to be printed soon.

Safeguarding operations have been carried out for the maintenance and display of the remains of the ‘Nea', a famous church built in the sixth century under the Emperor Justinian. The work in question involves reinforced concrete covers filling in the bottom of the excavation occupying the projecting angle of the southern part of the old wall, half-way between the Zion Gate (Bab al-Nabi Dawud) and the Dung Gate.

Mention was made in 1977 (see my report of 22 December 1977) of a scheme to build a hotel over a vast underground car-park reached by a tunnel beneath the old wall. This scheme has been abandoned in favour of a public`park with an open-air theatre in the deepest area of the excavation. Part of it has already been filled in. The filling material is liable soon to cover the important Gothic remains of a convent built by the Crusaders which it would be desirable to safeguard. In the absence of the Mayor of Jerusalem, I was unable to obtain any reliable information on the future of these ruins, which were brought to light during the excavations a few years ago.

3.2 The excavations near the Haram al-Sharif have been at a standstill since l976. Since my last visit in April 1979, a considerable amount of conservation and presentation work has been carried out, mainly in the area outside the rampart between the Double Gate and the south-eastern angle of the old wall. This area is known to corntain remains of monuments, chiefly from the Herodian, Byzantine and Ommiad periods. The upper part of the walls, uncovered in the course of excavations, has been in various circumstances reinforced, dismantled and rebuilt or raised. In most cases the original parts are readily distinguishable from those remade or reconstituted. The people in charge of the projects have clearly set out to apply the principles of the l964 Venice Charter on the subject.

Opinions may of course differ on the aesthetic quality or the nature of some of these operations, but there can be no doubt that the safeguarding of the remains called for action of the kind and on the scale undertaken. The remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Ommiad periods have been maintained without discrimination.

The reconstruction of the monumental stairway situated before the Double Gate and the columns put up without any archaeological justification, referred to in my report of 22 December 1977, are stillt in the same state despite the possibility contemplated at the time be the Director of Antiquities of at least taking down the columns.

In order to open up the excavatonrs for visits, pathways, foot-bridges and metal staircases have been constructed. Provision has been made for inscriptions and explanatory plans. The excavation site is not yet open to the general public.

3.3 Excavations in the 'City of David'. Work has been under way in this area since 1978. It had been undertaken in order to remove the very large quantities of unstable earth and rubble accumulated by, inter alia, the numerous excavations carried out in the sector since the beginning of this century (see my report of 3 October 1978). This development was to be executed under archaeological supervision and accompanied by borings and consolidation of the remains brought to light in the course of previous excavations, often left without any maintenance and even in danger of disappearance. The work carried out was in accordance with this programme at the time of my visits in 1979 and 1980.

This year, however, the extent of the undertaking gives the impression that the work under way goes Beyond what is needed to ensure the safety of the inhabitants and the safeguarding of archaeological remains. Admittedly when it comes to mixed and unstable earth - and the fatal accidents involving children buried by sudden earthfalls, together with the long cracks in the hillside that I myself observed after the winter of 1978, prove that it is so difficult to lay down exactly what should be removed and what can be left as it is without danger. However, in several places so much earth and rubble have been removed that new risks of instability may arise. This is particularly so in the area overlooking the old way of the Jebusite period which had already been discovered by J. MacCallister and K. Kenyon but which has been further uncovered recently.

I urged Professor Y. Shiloh, the director of excavation, to seek expert advice regarding the present stability of the soil in the most critical sectors. This seems to me to be all the more desirable since the excavations are surmounted by a housing area and one of the houses appears to be particularly at risk. It is thought to be built on the bedrock covering part of the Ophel hill, but it would be wise to make sure of this.

When earth is removed, a painstaking check is made of previous excavations. This results in greater chronological accuracy. There can be no denying that the excavation area has been extended beyond anything done before 1967. Without any precise plans of these excavations, I was unable to determine the size of this extension.

The remains of ramparts and other constructions, dating back to the first millennium B.C., have been partially consolidated with a view to their conservation and display.

As I stated in my report of 3 October 1978, the excavations are mainly situated on land purchased over half a century ago by the Rothschild family and ceded to the State of Israel, which has included it in its private heritage.

From the scientific point of view, the operations seem to me to have been carried out in accordance with current methods and rules. Their value in throwing light on the most ancient history of Jerusalem is indisputable.

4. Safeguarding and rehabilitation work in the old city

Little work is under way in the old city. The construction of new infrastructures in some main streets of the city has been completed. The new pavement is in place. It is made up of large slabs of natural stone from the area and corresponds to the former situation. Houses have been consolidated according to the typical Jerusalem method, i.e. the construction of flying-buttresses. It is interesting to note that an effort has been made by owners to restore and improve several facades, mainly in the Haram al-Sharif neighbourhood and particularly in respect of a number of Waqf properties.

4.1 The only area in which completion operations on some scale are under way is the Jewish Quarter, involving the large Yeshiva Porat Yoseph ensemble designed by the architect M. Safdie on the vast esplanade front facing the Wailing Wall. The edifice replaces a building for the same purpose demolished in 1948 but much less monumental. Its size and its massiveness are scarcely in keeping with the scale of the site.

4.2 The southern area of the Roman and Byzantine Cardo was badly damaged during the 1948 war. Rehabilitation and reconstruction operations have been under way for many years. The gallery which prolongs the existing souls, and in which the remains of the Byzantine Cardo and those of subsequent historic Constructions have been integrated and presented, is nearing completion. Inside the gallery, which is vaulted over, a number of bays in the Byzantine architectural style will be reassembled with original items discovered in the course of excavations.

4.3 I examined several buildings situated above the tunnel built in 1969-1972 along the Haran al~Sharif beneath the buildings of the Arab Quarter, and mainly 'Ribat Kurd' which had suffered considerable stability damage. I observed no noteworthy fresh deterioration. It seems then that the soil has become gradually stabilized after the installation of metal buttressing in the tunnel.

4.4 Improvements in the outer vicinity of the ramparts are being completed. Consolidation and presentation of the remains discovered during excavations before 1977 along the southern and western parts of the old wall is finished. Areas of greenery have been planted.

Reconstruction of the square in front of the Damascus Gate, which was under way in 198O, has also been completed. Work is continuing, however, on presentation of the remains of monuments at the Roman Gate discovered in the British mandate period beneath the sixteenth-century construction.

5. The Muslim cemeteries along the eastern part of the old wall

This wall overlooks the Cedron Valley, whose western slope has been occupied since the Middle Ages by the main Muslim cemetery of Jerusalem. A complaint lodged with the Director-General on 16 January 1981 by the Permanent Delegate of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan states that 'Israel has taken over the Muslim cemeteries.... and has altered their character. They include the two cemeteries of the Bab ar-Rahma Gate and the Bab al-Yusufiyya Gate, which Israel has turned into a public garden in which it has opened what it calls the "Israeli National Park".'

The eastern wall has two gates in it: one, which has been walled up since the Middle Ages, is the 'Golden Gate', called Bab al-Dahariyeh' in the plans of the city dating back to British mandate days or earlier; the other, further north, is Saint Stephen's Gate' or Bab Sitti Maryam (al Sabat)'.

They are surrounded by cemeteries. Since it is the only area around the old wall containing cemeteries in uses it may be concluded that despite the difference in the names of the gates, this is the part of the territory of Jerusalem referred to in the complaint by the Government of Jordan.

I made a close inspection of the site, the state of which is as follows:

The area around the Golden Gate (Bab al-Dahariyeh),extending from Saint Stephen's Gate (Bab Sitti Maryam) to the south-eastern corner of the rampart, is entirely covered by a Muslim cemetery. No alteration has been made to it and it has fully retained the traditional aspect which has been familiar to me since my first visit to Jerusalem in 1971.

On the other hand, the area stretching between Saint Stephen's Gate (Bab Sitti Maryam) and the north-eastern corner of the old wall has had recent work done on it. A pre-existing pedestrian way has been laid out and local plants and trees put in around it. Freshly erected railings separate the area turned into a park from the vast Muslim cemetery occupying the rest of the hillside. No trace of a grave is to be seen in the 'park' area and it is impossible to check on the spot whether graves have been effaced or shifted.

I questioned Mr Brosch, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, on the nature and date of these operations and on any projects concerning the area to the south of Saint Stephen's Gate(Bab Sitti Maryam). Being unable to give me any information in the absence of the Mayor and of the responsible municipal officials, he promised me an exhaustive note on the matter. It is to be transmitted to me via the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. I shall communicate it to the Director-General, with any comments I may have to make, as soon as I receive it.

6. Since my visit in 1980, there has been no noteworthy modification which would affect the landscape of the historic city of Jerusalem. In the Israeli city, high-rise buildings under construction at the time have been completed.

Construction of the Manilla development, along the western slope of the old wall in front of the Jaffa Gate is still under consideration. Considerable changes are thought to have been made to the project - which includes a vast underground car-park, shopping streets and galleries, a hotel and dwellings - in order to fit it into the site better and make it more compatible with the neighbourhood of the medieval surrounding wall. The land concerned by this project is situated partly inside Israeli territory and partly in the 'no man's land' which separated the cease-fire lines imposed in 1949 on the Jordanian and Israeli armies "


IV.PROPOSAL TO INCLUDE THE "OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM AND ITS WALLS"
ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST


7. In a letter of 15 December 1980, the Permanent Delegate of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Unesco transmitted a file to the Director-General containing additional information and documentation in connection with the proposal to include the old city of Jerusalem and its walls on the World Heritage List, which was submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its fourth session (Paris, 1-5 September 1980) by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

8. In accordance with the procedure established by the World Heritage Committee, the Secretariat passed on the file, on 17 December 1980, to the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in order that it might consider the pro-posal and make a recommendation on the subject to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee.

9. In a letter dated 14 January l98l, furthermore, the Director-General drew the attention of the Chairman of the World Heritage Committee, Mr Michel Parent (France), to the recommendation by the General Conference that the World Heritage Committee "speed up the procedure for including the City of Jerusalem on the 'World Heritage List'".

10. In a letter dated 7 April 1981, the Chairman of the World Heritage Committee informed the Director-General that he had given full attention to the recommendations made by the General Conference to the World Heritage Committee concerning Jerusalem .nnd that he had personally contacted the Secretariat of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to ensure that that organization gave careful consideration to the proposal for inclusion.

11. The proposal to include the old city of Jerusalem and its walls on the World Heritage List and the recommendation made by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in that connection were submitted to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its fifth session (Paris, 4-7 May 1981). The record of the proceedings of the Bureau On the subject are reproduced below:

"The Bureau examined the nomination of the 'Old city of Jerusalem and its walls' presented by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

It noted that this inscription raised for some members problems of procedure and legality which were referred to the Committee for consideration.

The Bureau examined the report of ICOMOS which recommended inscription of the 'Old City of Jerusalem and its walls' on the World Heritage List. However, some members of the Bureau drew attention to the lack of balance in the list of monuments given in Annex III and indicated that it would be necessary that other historical buildings and monuments be included.

It his taken note of the agreement of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to include in the list of monuments the historic buildings which ICOMOS recommends to and. Some states considered that the 'Old city of Jerusalem and its walls' constituted a historic ensemble which should be considered in its totality as a coherent whole whose balance and specific character depend on the synthesis of the elements of which it is composed, and where, since some elements belong to different historical periods, the preservation should be carried out taking into account the manifestations of all these periods.

These states considered that for this reason the inscription of the Old city of Jerusalem and its walls' should be recommended to the Committee.

Other states expressed concern about the adequate protection and managenent ot the site and requested the inscription not to be recommended to the Committee.

Under these conditions, since a general agreement could not be reached in the Bureau, it will be for the Committee to take in this respect the decision which in any case has to be taken by the Committee."

12. On 29 June 1981 the Permanent Delegates of 15 Member States of the World Heritage Committee (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nepal, Pakistan, Senegal, Tunisia) submitted to the Director-General and to the Chairman of the World Heritage Committee a request that an extraordinary session of the Committee be convened in Paris as soon as possible and before the fifth regular session of the Committee (which is to be held in Sydney from 26 to 30 October 1981) with the following provisional agenda:

13. The Permanent Delegates of Cyprus and of Zaire (which are also members of the Committee) supported the request on 3 and 15 July 1981 respectively.

14. In accordance with Rule 2.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee, the Director-General, in agreement with the Chairman of the Committee, granted the request by convening an extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee which is to be held at Unesco Headquarters on 10 and 11 September 1981.

15. In this document the Director-General conveys to the Executive Board all the information concerning Jerusalem in his possession at 13 August 1981. He will continue to do everything within his power to ensure that the resolutions of the General Conference and the decisions of the Executive Board are implemented and he will spare no effort with a view to the preservation of the City of Jerusalem, which belongs to the heritage of all mankind.


ANNEX


4/14. Preservation of cultural property in Jerusalem

The General Conference,

Recalling the Constitution and the objectives of Unesco relating to the protection andpreservation of the world heritage of monuments of historical and scientific value,

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

Recalling United Nations General Assembly resolutions 2253 (ES-V) of 4 July 1967 and 2254 (ES-V) of 14 July 1967, calling on Israel to rescind the measures it has taken to change the status of the City of Jerusalem and to refrain from any similar act in the future,

Recalling, the resolutions and decisions adopted by the General, Conference and the Executive Board of Unesco in particular l8 C/Resolution 3.427, l9 C/Resolution 4.129 and 20 C/Resolution 4/7.6/13,

Taking into consideration Security Council resolution 478 dated 20 August 1980,

Considering that the adoption by Israel of the "basic law" modifying the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem is yet another of the many obstructions placed by Israel in the way of Unesco's continuing efforts to protect the common heritage of mankind,

1. Reaffirms all the resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Conference and the Executive Board concerning the City of Jerusalem;

2. Vigorously condemns Israel for its continuing refusal to carry out those resolutions and decisions;

3. Endorses Security Council resolution 478, dated 20 August 1980,by which the Council:

"Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the 'basic law' on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular, the recent "basic law" on Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Decides not to recognize the 'basic law' and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem...;'

4. Invites Member States to withold all recognition of the modifications made by Israel to the character and status of Jerusalem and to abstain from any act that might imply any recognition whatsoever of those modifications;

5. Invites the Executive Board to review developments in the situation regarding Jerusalem and to take any measures that it might consider appropriate, in conformity with the prerogatives conferred upon it by the Constitution;

6. Invites the Director-General to keep a constant watch on the exposition of the resolutions and Decisions of the General Conference and Executive Board concerning Jerusalem;

7. Recommends that the World Heritage Committee speed up the procedure for including the City of Jerusalem on the "World Heritage List" and that it consider its inclusion on the "List of World Heritage in Danger";

8. Thanks the Director-General for his efforts to secure implementation of UNESCO's resolutions on the question of Jerusalem;

9. Reouests the Director-General to inform the Executive Board, at its 113th session, of developments in this matter;

10. Decides to include this item on the agenda of its twenty-second session.


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