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PM calls on UNESCO to protect archaeological, heritage sites in Palestine

July 18, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh [Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, has called on UNESCO to shoulder its responsibility and protect the archaeological and heritage sites in Palestine from the Israeli occupation’s attempts to extend control over them.

Speaking at the beginning of the cabinet meeting yesterday, Shtayyeh said the Israeli aggression and settler terrorism are escalating at Palestinian archaeological sites, especially in the town of Sebastia, near Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, and the Husan village in the Bethlehem Governorate, which is full of water springs and ponds.

He went on to warn of the repercussions of the Israeli water company Mekorot’s sharp reduction in water quotas allocated to the Hebron and Bethlehem governorates in the southern occupied West Bank, describing the company’s decision as a “dangerous, discriminatory and racist measure” that deprives the people in these two governorates of their most basic rights to water.

READ: Israel cuts water supply to Palestinians in Hebron

He noted that while the Israeli company has reduced water quotas for Palestinians, it has doubled it for illegal colonial settlers. The average Palestinian per capita consumption of water does not exceed 72 litres per day, while Israelis consume 320 litres per day.

Shtayyeh welcomed the Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution calling for the development of a database of companies that operate in, or those involved in direct or indirect activities in the illegal settlements, and called on countries that did not support the resolution to review their positions and stop encouraging the Israeli occupation authorities’ crimes which are illegal under international law.