UNESCO designates ancient Jericho ruins as World Heritage Site, sparking Israeli ire
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has designated Jericho’s ruins as a World Heritage Site, a move that has sparked ire among the Israeli government which claims the city falls under its jurisdiction. The ancient ruins, located in the West Bank, are believed to be one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities and are believed to have been inhabited as far back as 10,000 BCE. The city is home to some of the oldest structures in the world, including a wall that is believed to have been built around the 4th millennium BCE.
Israel has long maintained that the city and its archaeological remains are part of their heritage, and has voiced its displeasure over what is sees as a unilateral action taken by UNESCO, which was established as a branch of the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his displeasure at the decision and claims that Israel will take all necessary steps to defend its sovereignty over the city.
The decision has also been met with praise from Palestinians, many of whom have hailed the decision as a recognition of the ancient city’s status as part of the Palestinian cultural heritage. Despite Israel’s objections, the decision stands to provide Palestinians with new opportunities for access to what is a historically significant and culturally relevant site.