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Palestinian Authority calls on UN to protect 'Palestinian religious sites'

March 11, 2021 at 9:29 am

New buildings in the Israeli settlement in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.[HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry yesterday called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) “to protect all Palestinian archaeological and religious sites from Israeli violations, attacks and falsifications.”

In an official statement, the ministry condemned what it described as the “occupation’s seizure of hundreds of Palestinian archaeological sites in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to serve the expansion of the illegal settlements.”

“The Israeli control over Palestinian archaeological sites is usually carried out under racist laws and flimsy arguments,” the ministry pointed out, adding that Israel was intending to “steal Palestinian antiquities, forge them and display them in their museums as evidence of its misleading colonial claims.”

International law classifies the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied, meaning construction by Israel is illegal on their soil.

In May 2017, UNESCO voted in favour of a resolution which describes Israel as an “occupying power” and denies its sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.

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