Ancient Jericho eyed as World Heritage Site
The Manila Times
RIYADH: A UN conference voted Sunday to list the ancient West Bank city of Jericho as a World Heritage Site in Palestine, a decision likely to anger Israel, which controls the territory and does not recognize a Palestinian state. Jericho is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on Earth, and is in a part of the Israelioccupied West Bank that is administered by the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. The decision was taken at a meeting of the UN World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Israel quit Unesco in 2019, accusing it of being biased against it and of diminishing its connection to the Holy Land. Israel also objected to Unesco’s acceptance of Palestine as a member state in 2011. But Israel remains a party to the World Heritage Convention, and it sent a delegation to the meeting in Riyadh. Israel captured the West Bank, along with Gaza and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state. Israel views the West Bank as the biblical and cultural heartland of the Jewish people. The modern city of Jericho is a major draw for tourism to the Palestinian territories, both because of its historical sites and proximity to the Dead Sea. In 2021, the Palestinian Authority unveiled major renovations to one of the largest mosaics in the Middle East, in a Jericho palace dating back to the 8th century.