1.         Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan)) (C 148rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1982-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

(Document CLT 82/CH/CONF.015/8)
[…] they considered that the situation of this property corresponds to the criteria mentioned in the ICOMOS note and, in particular, to criteria (e) (significant loss of historical authenticity) and (f) (important loss of cultural significance) as far as "ascertained danger" is concerned, and to criteria (a) (modification of juridical status of the property diminishing the degree of its protection), (b) (lack of conservation policy) and (d) (threatening effects of town planning) as far as "potential danger" is concerned. […]

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

The political context does not allow the definition of a Desired state of conservation at this stage.

Corrective measures identified

Within the present context, only specific activities, such as the Action Plan developed within the initiative of the Director-General. 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/148/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1982-1982)
Total amount approved: USD 100,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/148/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: approximately USD 4,000,000 (since 1988)

Previous monitoring missions

February-March 2004: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission; from September 2005 to May 2008: 6 experts missions within the framework of the elaboration of the Action Plan for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem; February-March 2007: special World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission sent by the Director-General of UNESCO for the issue of the Mughrabi ascent; Missions for the application of the Reinforced monitoring mechanism: August 2007, January and February 2008. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Natural risk factors;

b) Lack of planning, governance and management processes;

c) Alteration of the urban and social fabric;

d) Impact of archaeological excavations;

e) Deterioration of monuments;

f) Urban environment and visual integrity;

g) Traffic, access and circulation.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/148/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

Since the State of conservation report submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), a number of initiatives and projects have been developed, as listed below. In March 2008, the World Heritage Centre addressed letters to the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian delegations to UNESCO, requesting contributions to prepare the present document. A report was transmitted by the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO to the World Heritage Centre on 13 April 2008.

 

I. Report of the Israeli authorities:

Since 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem is de facto administered by the Israeli authorities. Therefore, all new constructions and conservation projects are in principle subject to the administrative jurisdiction of the Municipality and usually supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The report of the Israeli authorities presenting on-going activities and projects is summarized hereunder:

a) Status of plans affecting the Old City:

(i) Master Plan of renewal, revitalization, development and conservation of the Old City:

The plan includes feasibility studies, an accessibility plan, a management plan for traffic and parking, and a detailed design of the model areas – all carried out with public participation.

(ii) Management Plan:

This Plan aims at providing means of upkeep and maintenance, renewal, development and marketing for the Old City.

(iii) Public participation:

The Municipality has started a programme for public participation and consultation in the preparation and implementation of the public works currently under discussion.

 

(iv) Infrastructures renewal and maintenance projects:

An eight-year action plan for replacing existing infrastructure, expanding facilities will be gradually carried out, closely joined by public participation. In addition, the street cleaning facilities have been privatized, enhancing the maintenance of the streets.

(v) Visitors’ services:

The project for lighting of monuments, city walls and streets is being prepared, as well as the replacement of all the street signs, city-maps and models. A traffic and tourism plan is also being prepared, including the organisation of events.

(vi) Cadastral mapping:

A long-term project of cadastral mapping of the Old City public realm and rooftops is under way, aimed at facilitating planning and design decisions.

b) Conservation and archaeological projects:

(i) Rehabilitation and preservation of monuments within the Old City:

The goal of this project lead by the IAA is to consolidate an agreed list of monuments in the public realm, such as the Roman cardo, sabils (water fountains), etc.

(ii) Rehabilitation and management of the Old City walls and gates:

A comprehensive state of conservation survey was undertaken by the IAA and work started on the north-west corner of the Old City, continuing on the external slope of the moat beside the Citadel and on the Zion gate. The conservation project was accompanied by a survey of natural resources and urban nature inside and adjacent to the Old City walls.

(iii) Haram ash-Sharif:

The report received from the Israeli authorities also mentions works carried out by the Jerusalem Waqf within the Haram ash-Sharif, the main being the following:

· Repair of the outer wall of the Zawiyyeh al-Khanthaniyya, to the south of Al-Aqsa Mosque;

· Conservation work in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and on its roof to prevent leakage;

· Scientific studies and conservation work in the Dome of the Rock (by the Veneto School of Conservation from Venice).

 

The report also mentions the works related to the renewal of the electricity system feeding power to the Dome of the Rock that entailed the cutting of a trench around the Dome and south to Al-Aqsa. During the work, a section of an archaeological layer containing finds dated to the Iron Age II period was located. This work was shallow, and while being the cause of renewed controversy, it did not cause any noticeable damage to the antiquities of the site. The World Heritage Centre has received no written information from the Waqf related to those works.

 (iv) Archaeological excavations:

The report summarises the on-going excavations in the Old City, notably those in the Western wall tunnels, such as in the passage to the south of the “Great Bridge” to clear a path to the woman's prayer area. The excavation uncovered an important section of a building, probably a bathhouse that was built to the south of the bridge. Furthermore, a street leading from the cardo up to the road above the bridge was uncovered. Excavations are also carried out to clear spaces in the arches of the “Great Bridge” and the ones in the Struthion Pool have uncovered a section connecting the pool with the 'Hasmonean' aqueduct.

Major conservation works are being conducted in many sections of the site including Wilson's Arch, Warren Gate, in the vaults below Madrasa Baladiyya, the aqueduct, etc.

The report also mentions a number of excavations in and around the Old City connected to the different building projects, as follows:

 

The issue of the archaeological excavations carried out since 1967 by the Israeli authorities in the Old City of Jerusalem has been the object of several discussions at the sessions of the Governing Bodies of UNESCO. As mentioned in many reports, these archaeological campaigns seem to be in contradiction with article VI. 32 of the 1956 New Delhi Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations, related to excavations in occupied territory.

c) Construction projects:

(i) Ohel Yizhak synagogue:

The rebuilding of the synagogue, destroyed in the 1936 riots, continues. This synagogue is located on Al-Wad street, in the Muslim quarter, adjacent to the Hammam Al-Ain. Although the plans have not been made available to the World Heritage Centre, it can be expected that the height of the building will be much higher that the surrounding urban fabric.

(ii) New building facing the Western Wall:

There is a proposed zoning change for an educational building to the west of the Western Wall Plaza. For the time being, excavation work is on-going, revealing considerable remains, notably from the Roman period. The final plan will be evaluated only after the completion of the excavations.In the light of the importance of the discoveries, the World Heritage Centre recommends a thorough revision of the plan so as not to build above the remains.

(iii) Zion gate underground parking:

In order to further the restrictions of through traffic in the Old City, a proposal for an underground parking lot is being prepared and archaeological excavations in the area may proceed in the near future. The plan also proposes constructing a public piazza, 56 residential units and a small hotel, some commercial space, the rehabilitation of garden and Nea Church area together.

d) Projects outside the City walls:

The report mentions several projects outside the City walls which might have a visual impact on the property such as the light rail and the related infrastructure, and the continuation of the “Mamilla” project, the foreseen extension of the “Mount Zion Hotel”, the “Givati” car park. Landscaping and development of gardens and parks are also on-going or foreseen, around the Old City.

The Outline Town Planning scheme for the whole Municipal area is in the process of discussion and has undergone extensive public participation. It includes a precise definition of a “buffer zone”. A survey of the visual basin of the Old City was undertaken in order to determine the exact boundaries of this visual basin, seen from different outlook points, and set a general policy for development restrictions in this realm. The project is now complete and about to be published.

 

II. Action Plan for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem

 

Within the framework of the Director-General’s initiative for Jerusalem through the elaboration of an Action Plan for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, the activities foreseen in the first phase have been completed, thanks to funding from Italy (USD 450,000) and Spain (USD 40,000). A synthetic report on the Action Plan was presented at the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee (Document WHC-07/31.COM/INF.7A.1) and to the Executive Board of UNESCO; detailed reports on the implemented activities had been submitted to the concerned Delegations in December 2007.

The following training and cultural activities focusing on cultural heritage training for young people were approved in February 2008 by the Italian authorities and will be implemented in the coming months:

- Development of an Apprenticeship programme supporting the costs of the training-on-the job activity for young unemployed people (16-25 years old). This will generate the availability of local craftsmen with specialized conservation skills that meet the conservation and maintenance needs in the specific situation of the Old City of Jerusalem, where the available professional labour force is presently much reduced. Moreover, training young people would generate employment opportunities.

- Regarding the cultural activities, a World Heritage Education programme, the target group of which are 12-16 years old students, will be developed within the framework of the UNESCO Special Project “Young People’s Participation in World Heritage Preservation and Promotion”, through workshops diffusing already available materials: the practical manual Introducing Young People to Heritage Site Management and Protection (adapting an activity initiated in 2002 in Petra by UNESCO and ICCROM to the case of Jerusalem) and the World Heritage in Young Hands Kit in Jerusalem secondary schools.

In 2008 a first project, among the project profiles developed in the Action Plan, has found a sponsor: the restoration of the Church of St. John the Baptist (also called St John Prodromos), belonging to the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate, has been approved for funding over three years by the A. G. Leventis Foundation from Cyprus (270,000 Euros). The detailed conservation project will be prepared during the first year, while the restoration works should start after UNESCO receives the funds allocated by the donor for the second year.

The continued effective implementation of the Action Plan is crucial, particularly since the improvement of the urban and social environment are vital elements for the preservation of the outstanding universal value to which the Old City of Jerusalem owes its inclusion on the World Heritage List. In order to ensure concrete action on the ground, the implementation of the Action Plan will be sustained by a fund raising campaign to generate financial support for carrying out the identified projects.

 

III. Development of an Architectural heritage conservation institute

An agreement was signed between UNESCO and the European Commission for an amount of 700,000 Euros, in order to develop a conservation institute for the training of professionals in the field of architectural conservation. The project, implemented in partnership with the Welfare Association, is to last three years during which a full curriculum and training materials will be developed as well as on-the-ground pilot projects. The first phase is progressing, notably in terms of administrative setting. These last months were devoted to developing the curriculum and training materials, notably with ICCROM.

IV. The Mughrabi ascent

By Decision 31 COM 7A.18, adopted in June 2007 at its 31st session in Christchurch, New Zealand, the World Heritage Committee decided “to recommend the application of the reinforced monitoring mechanism subject to the procedures in Document WHC-07/31.COM/5.2 and Decision 31 COM 5.2 in monitoring the state of conservation of the Mughrabi ascent” and requested “a report every two months from the World Heritage Centre until its 32nd session in 2008”. It also requested the World Heritage Centre “to facilitate the professional encounter at the technical level between Israeli, Jordanian and Waqf experts, to discuss the detailed proposals for the proposed final design of the Mughrabi ascent, prior to any final decision”.

A first Reinforced Monitoring report was transmitted to the States Parties members of the World Heritage Committee, on 16 October 2007. As the encounter had not yet taken place, this report only presented information on the ongoing negotiations in this regard. The encounter between the Israeli and Jordanian experts (including the Waqf) finally took place in Jerusalem on 13 January 2008 and its results presented in a second Reinforced Monitoring report transmitted to the Members of the Committee on 5 February 2008. At the time of the encounter, the participants agreed to take part in a follow-up meeting that was organised on 24 February 2008. This meeting was also attended by the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee, ICOMOS and ICCROM, and by an independent expert.

During that period, the World Heritage Centre requested that the Advisory Bodies examine the proposal presented by the Israeli experts for the access to the Mughrabi Gate as well as the two draft proposals presented by the Jordanian experts. Their evaluations were forwarded to the concerned parties.

These professional meeting were conducted in a spirit of mutual trust and understanding and showed the importance of technical dialogue between experts to address complex issues that require consultation and consensus of different stakeholders. In that regard, it was strongly felt by all participants that the various proposals discussed during the meetings had helped to build a consensus in line with the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, based on a true exchange of ideas, experiences and know-how. Recognizing the critical importance of using, when necessary, such a format for dialogue, both UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies proposed themselves as facilitators, as appropriate, for similar technical and professional exchanges in future.

A third Reinforced Monitoring report was transmitted to the Members of the Committee, on 4 March 2008, presenting the results of the follow-up meeting between the Israeli and Jordanian experts (including the Waqf), which took place in Jerusalem on 24 February 2008. The fourth report was sent on 5 June 2008 providing the latest information available.

The four Reinforced monitoring reports and their annexes are accessible on http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2008).

The Israeli process of approving the planning scheme is still underway. As foreseen by the Planning and Building Law in Israel, the Israeli proposal for the final design was deposited for public objections for a period of 60 days on 6 January 2008. This period ended on 6 March 2008. On 16 May 2008, the World Heritage Centre received a letter from the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO, indicating that fourteen objections had been received by the District Planning Commission. Concurrently, the Israeli World Heritage Committee transmitted on behalf of the Ministry of Education a document comprising the three first Reinforced Monitoring reports, to the District and Local Planning Commissions, for their consideration during the public hearings process. On 20 May 2008, the objections received were presented and the Commission will meet again in the coming weeks to ratify a final decision on the plan. It should be noted that appeals to the Commission may be put before the Commission, prior to the approved plan being gazetted. Subsequently, the process for delivering a building permit can be initiated, and evaluated in the context of the approved plan. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7A.18

The World Heritage Committee,

I

1.Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/7A.Add.2 and WHC-08/32.COM/7A.Add 3,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.18, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Also recalling the relevant provisions on the protection of cultural heritage including, as appropriate, the four Geneva Conventions (1949), the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981) and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO,

4. Affirming that nothing in the present decision, which aims at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, shall in any way affect the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions, in particular the relevant Security Council resolutions on the legal status of Jerusalem,

5. Welcomes the Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem developed in the context of the Director-General's comprehensive initiative for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls and strongly supports its implementation in coordination and consultation with the concerned parties;

6. Thanks international donors for their generous contributions to the Action Plan and calls upon the international donor community to further support, through extra-budgetary funding, activities aimed at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, in particular in the context of the Action Plan;

7. Asks the World Heritage Centre to make technical expertise and assistance available for the future conservation works foreseen in the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, taking into consideration the activities foreseen in the context of the Action Plan, as needed;

8. Takes note of the concerns expressed about the archaeological excavations undertaken in the Old City of Jerusalem, and asks the Israeli authorities to provide the World Heritage Centre with all relevant and detailed information about them;

9. Urges Israeli authorities to prevent any actions that could undermine the authenticity and integrity of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls;

10. Requests the World Heritage Centre to report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress in the implementation of the Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem at its 33rd session in 2009;

II

1. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.18 adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), 176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/Decision, adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 176th session, and Decision 179 EX/9 adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 179th session (April 2008),

2. Affirming that the design of the Mughrabi ascent should maintain the authenticity and integrity of the site, and that no measures, unilateral or otherwise, should be taken which will affect the authenticity and integrity of the site, in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972,

3. Reaffirming the purpose and spirit of the professional encounter at the technical level of 13 January 2008, as well as the follow-up meeting of 24 February 2008,

4. Requests the Israeli authorities to continue the cooperation engaged with all concerned parties, in particular with Jordanian and Waqf experts;

5. Asks the World Heritage Centre to organize a technical follow-up meeting at the site with all concerned parties for additional exchanges of information to enable all necessary inputs to be considered;

6. Being aware that the process for the design of the Mughrabi ascent, which allows the taking into consideration of the proposals submitted during the professional encounter, is still underway, requests the World Heritage Centre to follow closely, in the context of the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism, the developments associated with this process;

7. Thanks the World Heritage Centre for facilitating the holding of the professional encounter at the technical level of 13 January 2008, as well as the follow-up meeting of 24 February 2008, between Israeli, Jordanian and Waqf experts, as requested by Decision 31 COM 7A.18;

8. Takes note of the proposals for the design of the Mughrabi ascent, as evaluated by the Advisory Bodies, and asks that the proposed final design be provided to the World Heritage Centre;

9. Welcomes the regular information provided by the Israeli National Commission to UNESCO on the on-going activities related to the Mughrabi ascent, and urges the Israeli authorities to limit those archaeological activities to consolidation and stabilization works;

10. Decides to continue with the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism for the state of conservation of the Mughrabi ascent, and requests a report from the World Heritage Centre at least every three months, until the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2009;

III

1. Decides to retain the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls on the List of World Heritage in Danger.