As of January 1, 2019, the United States has officially withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one The United States has withdrawn from UNESCO in protest of the organization’s recognition of cultural sites in the West Bank.
The UN agency recognised two Hebron landmarks as belonging to the State of Palestine…
Climate change, armed conflict, and development threaten some of Earth’s greatest treasures—the World Heritage in Danger List calls for their safeguarding.
Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization recognizes cultural and natural sites for their outstanding value to humanity, ranging from beautiful natural landscapes to humankind’s most ingenious constructions.
But as storms batter coastlines, development encroaches on wildlife habitats, and armed conflict devastates communities, millennia of humanity’s shared heritage are at risk.
Established in 1972, Article 11.4 of the 1972 UNESCO convention instituted the List of World Heritage in Danger to recognize sites in need of protection from a wide range of threats, including urban and tourism development, armed conflict, natural disasters, and abandonment. The aim of the list is to increase international awareness, encourage countermeasures, and thwart future damage.
More than a hundred islets off the coast of Pohnpei form the ceremonial site of Nan Madol. Ruins of stone palaces, temples, and tombs dating from 1200 to 1500 A.D. reveal the Pacific Island culture of the Saudeleur dynasty.
Read more from source: 25 World Heritage Sites in Danger
Bethlehem lies 10 kilometers south of the city of Jerusalem, in the fertile limestone hill country of the Holy Land. Since at least the 2nd century AD people have believed that the place where the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, now stands is where Jesus was born. One particular cave, over which the first Church was built, is traditionally believed to be the Birthplace itself. In locating the Nativity, the place both marks the beginnings of Christianity and is one of the holiest spots in Christendom. The original basilica church of 339 AD (St Helena), parts of which survive below ground, was arranged so that its octagonal eastern end surrounded, and provided a view of, the cave. This church is overlaid by the present Church of the Nativity, essentially of the mid-6th century AD (Justinian), though with later alterations. It is the oldest Christian church in daily use. Since early medieval times, the Church has been increasingly incorporated into a complex of other ecclesiastical buildings, mainly monastic.
From the World Heritage inscription:
Battir is a major Palestinian cultural landscape, the adaptation of a deep valley system for agricultural purposes as a result of a good supply of water. The complex irrigation system of this water supply has led to the creation of dry walls terraces which may have been exploited since antiquity. The agricultural terraces, exploiting this irrigation system, were the basis for a strong presence of agriculture through the cultivation of olives and vegetables. The area still today has the same use.
The water distribution system used by the families of Battir is a testament to an ancient egalitarian distribution system that delivers water to the terraced agricultural land based on a simple mathematical calculation and a clear time-managed rotation scheme.
The village of Battir is not far from Jerusalem and is right on the Israel/Palestine border. In fact, there are Israeli train tracks which go right past the terraces at the bottom of the hill.
I could not find any organized tours to Battir, which was a shame.
Since September 2013, twenty enthusiasts from Bethlehem and around the world have been working to renovate the church
Fifteen centuries after its reconstruction by Emperor Justinian, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity has lost none of its splendor.
Each year more than two million pilgrims or tourists enter the small entry door to the basilica to visit the treasures the church has accumulated since it was first recognized in the second century as the site of Jesus’ birth.
Soon, visitors will be able to once again admire mosaics that have been hidden from public view for hundreds of years.
Damaged by fire in the sixth century and worn down by time and events, the church’s appearance has seriously deteriorated.
Palestinian authorities decided in 2009 to seek funding for a complete renovation expected to cost more than 18 million euros.
As usual, Palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem are hosting Christmas festivities for thousands of visitors to the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born. But this year, US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has caused tensions and dampened the holiday mood.
On an unseasonably warm night, a few days before Christmas, Manger Square in the West Bank city of Bethlehem is lit with thousands of bright lights and a huge, twinkling Christmas tree. In the center of the square, a large manger scene has been set up, and parents explain the birth of Jesus Christ to their children. Vendors hawk Christmas decorations and sahlab, a traditional drink made from the ground-up bulbs of orchids.
How disparate approaches to international law play out at the organisation.
Around the world, the media has reported that the US and Israel have pulled out of Unesco because the international organisation is partisan regarding Israel. Do disparate approaches to international law and peace plans automatically put Unesco at odds with Israel and the US?
More than 135 states in Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe have diplomatically recognised Palestine. Israel and the US do not and remain critical of Unesco since the 2011 admission of Palestine as a member state, arguing that Palestinians should pursue rights through bilateral negotiations with Israel in the framework of a peace plan, not through United Nations agencies.