Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
- Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
- High impact research / monitoring activities
- Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
- Management activities
- Management systems/ management plan
- Other Threats:
Natural risk factors; Deterioration of monuments
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Natural risk factors;
- Lack of planning, governance and management processes;
- Alteration of the urban and social fabric;
- Impact of archaeological excavations;
- Deterioration of monuments;
- Urban environment and visual integrity;
- Traffic, access and circulation.
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
(cf. 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. […]”
Corrective Measures for the property
Not yet identified
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measuresNot yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014
Total amount granted: approximately USD 5,000,000 (since 1988)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Total amount approved : 100,000 USD
|1982||32-month expert services to undertake an architectural ... (Approved)||100,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2014**
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; August 2007, January and February 2008: missions for the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism; March and December 2009: World Heritage Centre missions ; December 2013: project mission.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
A report was provided to the World Heritage Centre by the Israeli Permanent Delegation to UNESCO on 31 January 2014. A joint report was provided by the Jordanian and Palestinian Permanent Delegations to UNESCO on 30 January 2014; an edited version of this joint report was received on 12 March 2014. These reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/148/documents/.
I. Report from the Israeli authorities
It is to be noted that since 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem “is de facto administered by” the Israeli authorities. The report underlined that it refers only to new actions taken or ongoing processes in the areas inside the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem – intra muros sites. The report presents a wide range of activities. Most of them are similar to those mentioned in the 2013 report and the previously reported activities are therefore not reported in the present document. Updates are summarized hereunder:
a) Overall plans and development
Regarding town planning, the report indicates that the Local Plan for the Old City is a derivative of the strategic plan and previous planning initiatives that determines the methods and terms of preservation and restoration of the Old City monuments and of the public realm. The Plan recommends to list 600 Monuments in the Old City, and to establish a professional team to examine applications submitted in the Old City and to advise the local authorities on their approval. The report also mentions that the Local Planning Committee, recently re-appointed, is resuming its discussion of the plan, with a view to consolidate municipal opinions regarding deposited files. Concerning residential block plans, the report mentions that 23 residential blocks exist in the Old City, excluding the Jewish quarter. It further indicated that local plan AM/9 for the Old City of Jerusalem adopted in 1976 is still valid in most parts of the Old City. Six residential blocks were selected for the first phase of planning. The plans implement policies and guidelines for the safeguarding the cultural heritage of the Old City, the conservation and rehabilitation of historic assets, and facilitate the issuance of building permits in these blocks. Furthermore, two residential local plans are being prepared for submission to the planning committees. The report mentioned that a new Comprehensive Local Plan for the Jewish Quarter in the Old City is being developed. The programmatic brief for the plan was approved, and currently, several spatial building alternatives are being produced to be presented to the steering committee in the coming months. The report from the Israeli authorities also provides a list of detailed schemes in the Old City, including notably: the Tifferet Israel Synagogue as well as the Building addition to Armenian Church which have been deposited for public review as well as for review by the Local Planning Committee; the scheme for the Liba (core) House has been deposited, objections have been heard, and the plan will be discussed in the Regional Planning Committee again shortly. A zoning plan application was submitted regarding the Addition of housing units to an existing residential building.
Concerning the lighting plan, a tender for the design and production of exclusive Old-City street lamp was published and is at the evaluation stage. The infrastructure and streetscape improvement project along Hagai (El Wad) street including landscaping, infrastructure renewal and provision of accessibility proceeds, is to be completed in 2014. Preparations to initiate the next phase will commence with the renovation of Damascus Gate plaza Works and will continue throughout 2014 for the infrastructure and streetscape improvement project in the Bab Huta neighborhood, including landscaping, infrastructure renewal and provision of accessibility. The Street Improvement plan for the Christian Quarter has reached the final design phase and this project includes the renewal of water utilities, the renovation of the Muristan plaza and the routes to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the improvement of accessibility for the disabled. The survey of the Old City's commercial street facades has been conducted and public funding is provided for the renovation of facades in compliance with storefront design guidelines. An outdoor sport field has been constructed in the Sons of Alquds Community Centre in the Moslem Quarter and a Public Participation Unit for East Jerusalem residents has been established. Regarding maintenance and site management, the report mentions that a new local governance unit for public participation in East Jerusalem was established, enhanced cleaning and maintenance services in the Old City is provided.
Concerning traffic and transportation, a traffic plan intended to minimize vehicular movement through the Lions Gate and the New Gate is being prepared. Public Transportation Services improve with the operation of new regular shuttles circulating within the Old City with park and ride facilities. Concerning tourism infrastructure, five tourist routes and seven public restrooms facilities compliant with accessibility requirements for the disabled are in progress.
b) Archaeology on the Temple Mount
The report submitted by the Israeli authorities indicates thatconservation works on the Temple Mount Compound including preservation of mosaics and marble tiles at the Dome of the Rock, are being undertaken as well as the replacement of one of the wooden doors of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It reports that repair of water utilities are in progress. At the Al Omaria School, located at the northern face of Temple Mount, complex stabilization and reconstruction of the walls of the school are carried out. The report further indicates that at the Solomon's Stables, conservation work of the seventh and eighth vaults continued. All these works are conducted by the Waqf under the inspection of Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).At the Eastern Wall, conservation works on the Eastern side of the Wall were completed and restoration works resumed, including the replacement of worn stones.
c) Conservation activity
Western Wall Compound
The report mentions that, at the Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue the construction of a permanent support structure and floor casting was completed. Furthermore the report mentions that Strauss building- rescue excavation was conducted at the construction site of an additional wing.
Western Wall Tunnels
Concerning the Western Wall tunnels, ongoing conservation and structural stabilization work was undertaken in several rooms along the passage and the installation of wood platforms enables the use of the Northern rooms. At the Mahkamah building, the reports mentions ongoing conservation works, bordering the Western Wall plaza, including the treatment of deteriorated stones and structural stabilization.
Restoration and preservation of the Old City Walls
The report mentions that the Walls Conservation Project has been carried out for several years and the conservation and structural works on the Warrior Cell above the Lions Gate facade has been completed.
d) Conservation works in the Old City
The report further mentions conservation works at several places in the Old City, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with construction, restoration and maintenance works at St. Abraham convent, by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy in Jerusalem, the Alexander Nievsky Church, the House of the Maghreb heritage, the Steps Pool, the Jewish Quarter - Remains of a Miqwe. At the Bab Huta neighbourhood upgrading of the infrastructure as well as at Hagai (el-Wad) Street took place. At Sabil Hamam el Ain conservation works were conducted including cleaning and stabilizing components of the architectural monument. At the Sons of Alquds community centre an outdoor sport fields was finalized in 2013 avoiding any damage to the Old City walls. At the Citadel the removal of the excavation spoil continued in 2013 and landscape development began. The Hamam underneath the Jaffa Gate was cleaned and options for the site’s rehabilitation are being considered. For Zedekiyah’s Cave, a project focuses on safety requirements. At Haldiah-el Kirmi new cracks appeared in September 2013 and measures were taken. The Waqf, under professional supervision, is preparing a structural and conservation plan for the compound.
e) Archaeological excavations in the Old City and along the walls
The report mentions various archaeological excavations including research excavations in Jerusalem Archaeological Park, notably on the Herodian drainage canal; an excavation along the foundations of the Western Wall as well as excavations at the Ophel. The reports also underline that in the course of 2013, several rescue excavations conducted by IAA archaeologists were undertaken prior to implementation of civil infrastructure and rehabilitation works. These salvage excavations concerned notably the Tifferet Israel Synagogue, the "Musa Affendi residence", the Theodor House”, the "Hadad family residence", the Damascus Gate St. #20 as well as "The Grand Bazaar". The report also mentions construction works in the Archaeological Park and notably, at the Northwestern corner of the Archaeological Park, a platform installed to expand the plaza for the benefit of prayers. The report indicated that the platform is made of lightweight materials and was installed with no damage to antiquities.
f) Site management and other issues
According to the report, a new local governance unit for public participation was established to coordinate public engagement processes and mediate between Old City's communities and the authorities. The contract for enhanced cleaning and maintenance services in the Old City has been renewed. Furthermore, a GIS based database for the Old City was established to facilitate access to data collected in the course of planning, renewal and preservation initiatives in the Old City, including maps, documents and plans. Finally, the report provides a list of tourism and cultural events that were organized.
II. Report from the Jordanian authorities
The report received from the Permanent Delegation of Jordan states that it has been prepared partly in consultation with the Permanent Delegation of Palestine to UNESCO. It provides information based on the observations and report of the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf and the Jordanian Committee for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It presents activities undertaken by the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf and information on the Israeli measures in the Old City, reiterating the concern of the Government of Jordan on these matters. The report refers notably to the provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention which has been ratified by both Jordan and Israel, and to the 1994 Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel.
a) Report on the activities carried out by the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf at the Haram ash-Sharif
Among the activities presented and undertaken by the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf are the following, most of them already reported in the report to the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee (Phnom Penh, 2013):
- Continuing the restoration works of the stucco and mosaic ornamentation inside of the Dome of the Rock, as well as of the interior walls marble cladding;
- Conducting studies and preparing tender documents for the ventilation system as well as completing the study of, and plans for, the external lighting project of the Dome of the Rock;
- Completing the restoration of the historic tiles (Qashani) for the Dome of the Chain (Qubbat Al-Silsilah) adjacent to the Dome of the Rock;
- Re-gilding the crescent of the Dome of the Rock and restoring parts of the underground water pipes around the Dome of the Rock Plaza;
- Starting restoration work on mosaic ornamentation; continuing the restoration of the stucco and glass windows and of the wooden tie beams between the main columns of Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as replacing two wooden gates and work on the ventilation;
- Continuing with the laying of lead sheeting over the roofs of the buildings of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound as well as restoration of the Khanthaniyyah School and library below the Mosque;
- Continuing the restoration of the outside of the Eastern wall and completing the restoration of the Southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque;
- Continuing the restoration of the mortar lining of the ceilings of the sixth and seventh colonnades of the Al-Marwani Mosque as well as restoration of the rainwater channels over and conducting studies and preparing tender documents for the construction of a canopy for the entrance of the Mosque;
- Finishing the restoration and maintenance of the Mamluk Jawliyyah School (part of the Omariyyah School);
- Partial tiling of the Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.
The report also mentions the cooperation with UNESCO for the rehabilitation of the Manuscript Conservation Laboratory and for the refurbishment of the Islamic Museum, and the appointment by the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of four additional staff members for the Museum and five for the Manuscript Centre. It also indicates that the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf has recently appointed five trainees at the Manuscript Restoration Center, funded by a UNESCO grant; and that UNESCO retained a museum expert to develop a conceptual design for the Islamic Museum of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
b) Report on the actions undertaken by the Israeli authorities
The report provides a list of the obstructions to the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf’s work at the Haram ash-Sharif, including the restoration of the columns of the Marwani Mosque, the installation of the lighting and firefighting and sound system, the restoration of the Ghadiriyya School, and the renovation of the Golden Gate, as well as, notably, obstructions to the restoration of medical emergency rooms at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa; execution of the ventilation system for the Dome of the Rock and the tiling of the pathways of Al-Aqsa Mosque Plazas; the construction of a canopy for the entrance of the Al-Marwani Mosque and the restoration of the external pediment of the Western upper roof of Al-Jami’ Al-Aqsa.
In addition, the report mentions the measures preventing the employees of the Jordanian Awqaf to access their workplace and sites as well as those preventing access to Muslim and Christian worshipers to their holy sites. The report also mentions the establishment of surveillance cameras at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and at the Dome of the Rok and the damages to the historic gates of Al-Jami’ Al-Aqsa. In addition, the report notes damages against the Nabi Dawud Compound and Mosque, including attempts to transform the authenticity and spiritual values (e.g. inscription panels, converting functions and use).
The report further mentions concerns regarding debates held at the Knesset on the status at the Haram ash-Sharif.
The report also expresses concern at the plans to change the character and features of the Old City, including the alteration of the authenticity of the Walls, the converting of the Old City Gates into artificial parks (Damascus Gate, Lions’ Gate and Herode’s Gate), the removal of remains of the Magharbeh Quarter during the excavations on the Western Wall/Al Buraq Plaza, the construction of “Beit Haliba” (referred to as Liba House in the report of the Israeli authorities above), the demolition of a building and arches on the Western Wall/Al Buraq Plaza in order to build the Strauss House at the northwest corner of the Plaza which will affect the view of the Dome of the Rock.
The report makes reference to the activities undertaken by the Israeli authorities regarding the planned construction of a Centre for Human Dignity and a Museum of Tolerance on part of the Mamilla Cemetery, a Muslim cemetery located to the West of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Several letters of complaints have been received by UNESCO from NGOs, from the Permanent Delegation of Palestine regarding this matter, as well as from the Chairperson of the Executive Board, H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Amr, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Group to UNESCO. The Secretariat transmitted to the Israeli authorities a letter on this matter and requested additional information on 21 February 2014. At the time of the preparation of this report, no answer was received from the Israeli authorities.
In January 2014, UNESCO has received reports from a Israeli NGO on recent activities regarding excavation and construction work in and around the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls. The Secretariat requested the Israeli authorities to provide additional information in particular related to the construction activity for the “Giv’ati Parking Lot”, the construction of “Beit Haliba”, which overlooks the Western Wall area, the ongoing works in the Southern part of the tunnel, as well as the wooden platform at the Western Wall Area for the “Women of the Wall Prayer Site”. At the time of the preparation of this report, no answer was received from the Israeli authorities.
c) Report on archaeological excavations undertaken by the Israeli authorities
A large part of the report relates to the archaeological excavation and tunnelling undertaken in and around the Old City, in particular in the areas of the Southern wall of the Marwani Mosque and Western Wall Plaza and in Silwan, causing damage to buildings on the ground level and affecting the structural integrity of the areas around and under the Haram ash-Sharif. The report states that more than 100 excavations are ongoing in the Old City and on both sides of the Old City Walls. Of particular concern to the Jordanian authorities are the tunnels connecting Al Wad Street with the Western Wall and the Kittan Cave/Suleiman Cave, the tunnels connecting Silwan to the Western Wall/Al Buraq Plaza, excavations and tunnelling at the site of the Omar bin Al-Khattab yard close to Hebron Gate.
The report provides a list of 13 tunnels and excavations undertaken by the Israeli authorities since 1967 in the Old City, which could have a direct effect on the structural condition of the Haram ash-Sharif, such as the Western Wall tunnels and underground synagogue, the Ohel Yitzhak tunnels, the Magharbeh Gate/Hasmonaean tunnel, the Bab Al-Qataneen tunnel, the Bab Al-Ghawanmeh tunnel, 70 m under the Haram ash-Sharif, the tunnel and excavations under the Western Wall Plaza.
III. The Mughrabi Ascent
Since its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), the World Heritage Committee has repeatedly 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”.Two such meetings took place in Jerusalem on 13 January and 24 February 2008.
UNESCO convened a technical meeting at its Headquarters on 18 April 2012. Jordanian and Waqf experts participated in this meeting, with representatives of the World Heritage Centre, ICCROM and ICOMOS. The Permanent Delegate of Israel informed the World Heritage Centre verbally that Israeli experts would not participate in the meeting, as he considered that it is the responsibility of the parties concerned to reach an agreement on the design of the Mughrabi Ascent. Due to the absence of the Israeli experts, neither examination nor discussion of the Israeli proposal took place. Therefore, the situation has remained unchanged as the objective of the meeting was to review both proposals in order for the parties to reach a consensus on the design of the Mughrabi Ascent.
At the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), Decision 36 COM 7A.23.II, reiterating the terms of the Executive Board decision, was adopted by consensus among the concerned parties.
A note verbale from the Permanent Delegation of Jordan to UNESCO, dated 9 October 2012, informed UNESCO that the Israeli authorities had resumed work on the Mughrabi Ascent since 22 May 2012, thus disregarding previous decisions of the Executive Board and of the World Heritage Committee requesting that “no measures, unilateral or otherwise, shall be taken on the site”. The note verbale highlights the great concern of the Government of Jordan about these actions “which have adversely altered the site’s characteristics, integrity, authenticity and Islamic cultural heritage” and which “hinder the efforts to finally settle the Mughrabi Gate Pathway dispute in a manner consistent with UNESCO’s consensus decisions and acceptable by all relevant parties”. Two additional notes verbales, dated 4 and 14 February 2013 as well as a letter dated 2 April 2013 reiterated this matter.
The report of the Jordanian authorities, dated 25 February 2013, reiterates the above and the deep concern of the Government of Jordan that the actions undertaken by the Israeli authorities would alter the “status quo” and may lay the foundations for erecting a permanent bridge or annexing the levelled areas to the Plaza.
Finally, the report calls on UNESCO to request its Advisory Bodies, ICCROM and ICOMOS, to comment on the Jordanian design submitted in May 2011, in order for UNESCO to approve it.
The report of the Israeli authorities, dated 26 February 2013, states that in February 2012, work was commenced to stabilize the temporary wooden bridge and that work has started in the area where the new Mughrabi Ascent is to be built, including the removal of unstable walls, filling of underground spaces with dirt, stabilizing ancient walls, removal of layers of dirt, and stabilizing dirt cuts.
During the discussions at the 190th session of the Executive Board, Member States expressed their concern as regards the lack of progress in implementing the decisions of the Board and of the World Heritage Committee. A meeting of the Bureau of the Executive Board was convened by the Chairperson on 7 and 8 March 2013, requesting the Director-General to deploy her efforts to achieve progress on this matter. At the 191st session, a consensus was finally reached among the concerned parties for an experts meeting to take place in May 2013, as acknowledged in Decision 191 EX/5.
The meeting was foreseen to take place at the World Heritage Centre on 27 May 2013, and the Jordanian and Palestinian authorities had designated their experts. However, failing on agreement on the Terms of Reference of the mission (see below, VI), the Israeli authorities considered the meeting to be premature and it therefore has not taken place at the time of the drafting of the present document.
At its 37th session, the World Heritage Committee reiterated the need for the parties concerned to cooperate on all related aspects of this issue [Mughrabi ascent] and regrets Israel’s refusal to fulfil World Heritage Committee Decision 36 COM 7A.23.II, Executive Board Decision 191 EX/5 (I) and related UNESCO Resolutions and Decisions.
In response to the request by UNESCO for additional information regarding the constructions work undertaken at the beginning of the ramp leading to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities informed, by letter dated 31 January 2014 that “all the ongoing construction works are carried out with full cooperation and coordination between the Waqf authorities, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Israeli Antiquities Authority”.
The information provided by Jordan and Palestine contains a chronological list of reported “extensive aggressions” against the Mughrabi Gate Pathway since 1967 to 2013 underlining a “continued disregard of all UNESCO decisions regarding the Mughrabi Gate Pathway (MGP) and banning the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf from performing their duties to restore the MGP area for the 10th consecutive year”. In the report, the Government of Jordan expressed his deep concern about Israeli acts prohibiting the entrusted National Authority from performing emergency restorations and stabilization measures to the Ummayad / Ottoman / Mamluk Walls at the site of the Mughrabi Gate Pathway. It underlines that these historic treasures have recently been removed or covered with concrete and new walls by the Israeli authorities. Furthermore, the report mentions the demolishing and erasing part of the Mughrabi Gate Pathway in order to expand the Jewish women’s prayer area, the leveling and lowering large areas of the Mughrabi Gate Pathway as well as the enforcement of a new Jewish prayer platform for American Reform Jews.
At its 194th session, the Executive Board of UNESCO recalled previous decisions regarding “the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem” and decided to include this item on its agenda for the 195th session in the fall of 2014.
IV. UNESCO operational projects
In 2008, within the framework of the UNESCO Action plan for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, the A.G. Leventis Foundation decided to contribute to a project for the restoration of the lower part of the Church of St. John the Baptist, also known as St. John Prodromos. The overall state of conservation of the underground part of this Church, which is one of the most ancient in Jerusalem, was considered critical since no serious restoration and maintenance works have been undertaken for decades. The project aimed at solving structural problems and making the lower church accessible to the resident community and visitors. In 2011, after the removal of a modern floor, in-depths archaeological research was completed. In 2012 the overall programme for the structural consolidation and project proposals was prepared. However, the available funds were not sufficient to undertake a full restoration project and therefore the works were limited to key priorities. A project officer from the World Heritage Centre conducted a mission to Jerusalem in November 2013 for the closure of the operational project on the Church of St. John the Baptist. Based on the study and project design for the restoration of the Church produced by UNESCO, the A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate shall cooperate to implement the restoration works and acknowledging UNESCO’s role thereon.
The third phase of the project for the establishment of the Centre for the Restoration of Manuscripts of the Haram ash-Sharif, funded by Norway, started in September 2011 and is progressing well. Five additional staff members have been recruited and four sessions of courses on conservation and restoration techniques have already been held.
Within the framework of the project “Safeguarding, Refurbishment and Revitalization of the Islamic Museum of the Haram ash-Sharif and its Collection”, funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the premises of the Islamic Museum have been repaired and the necessary equipment has been purchased. The four permanent staff members recruited by the Jordanian authorities were trained in conservation and museum management. The artefacts are being cleaned and conserved, the electronic and photographic inventory is nearly completed. The museological/museographical phase started in September 2012 and subsequently, the Director of the Museum of Islamic Art within the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, selected by UNESCO as coordinator, proposed a plan of action and the scientific conception of the museum. The interior design of the museum has been submitted by the selected architect. An audience development team produced a report on the expectations of the public and the restoration of the artefacts to be exhibited has started.The implementation of the plan of action for the conception of the museum will start as soon as it is approved by the local authorities.
V. Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism
The “Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism”, requested by the UNESCO Executive Board at its 176th session and by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), has been applied to the Mughrabi Ascent since then. Consequently, nine reports were prepared by the World Heritage Centre and forwarded to the concerned parties and the members of the World Heritage Committee. At its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011), the World Heritage Committee decided to expand the mechanism to the entire Old City of Jerusalem and, thus, four reports were prepared respectively in December 2011, March 2012, February 2013 and March 2014 and distributed to the members of the World Heritage Committee and the concerned parties.
VI. Reactive monitoring mission
The World Heritage Committee requested at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) sessions respectively, “a joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property as referred to in the Operational Guidelines to assess and advise on progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan and, in cooperation and consultation with the concerned parties, to identify appropriate operational and financial mechanisms and modalities to strengthen technical cooperation with all concerned parties in the framework of the Action Plan”. At the 191st session of the Executive Board, a consensus could finally be reached among the parties concerned for the mission to take place in May 2013, as acknowledged in Decision 191 EX/9.
The mission was scheduled to be carried out from 20 to 25 May 2013. However, no agreement could be reached between the concerned parties on the Terms of Reference of the mission.
At its 37th session, the World Heritage Committee deplored “the continued Israeli failure to cooperate and facilitate the implementation of the World Heritage Committee Decision 34 COM 7A.20, which requests a joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls and despite its own letter to the Director-General of UNESCO dated 23 April 2013 accepting the mission as reflected in the agreement reached at the 191st session of the Executive Board and as stipulated in the Executive Board 191 EX/Decision 9”, and asked “Israel to refrain from any new preconditions in order not to obstruct the implementation of the above mentioned agreement”.
By Decision 194 EX/5 (D) adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO in April 2014, the Executive Board requested to implement paragraph 11 of Decision 34 COM 7A.20 adopted by the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia at its 34th session as follows:
– (a) Phase I: the dispatch, upon an agreed date prior, at least 10 days, to the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls to assess, as a first phase, the 18 sites included in the Action Plan as pilot sites,
– (b) Phase II: the dispatch, upon an agreed date, of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, to assess, as second phase, the major monumental complexes designated in the Action Plan (i.e. the Haram-ash-Sharif, the Citadel, the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulchre and the City walls);
The Executive Board invited all concerned parties to participate in the experts meeting on the Mughrabi Ascent, to be held at UNESCO upon an agreed date prior, at least 10 days, to the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, and requested that the report and recommendations of the mission as well as the report of the technical meeting on the Mughrabi Ascent in Paris, be presented to the concerned parties before the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee.
The Secretariat will be reporting on such a meeting to the World Heritage Committee accordingly, either through an Addendum or orally at the time of the discussion of the agenda item.
The issue of the archaeological excavations carried out since 1967 by the Israeli authorities in the Old City of Jerusalem is also the subject of consideration by the Governing Bodies of UNESCO. These archaeological campaigns are in contradiction with article VI. 32 of the 1956 New Delhi Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations, related to excavations in an occupied territory.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7A.4
Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (C 148 rev)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling the relevant provisions on the protection of cultural heritage including the four Geneva Conventions (1949), the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954 and its related protocols, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, the Delhi UN ESCO Recommendation of 1956 concerning excavations undertaken in occupied territories, the inscription of 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 related recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO,
- Reaffirming that nothing in the present decision, which aims at the safeguarding of the authenticity, integrity and cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem on both sides of 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,
- Deeply concerned by the persistence of the Israeli illegal excavations and works conducted by settler groups in the Old City of Jerusalem and on both sides of its Walls and the failure of Israel to cease such harmful interventions, requests Israel to timely stop all such violations, in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of related UNESCO Conventions and recommendations,
- Regrets the damaging effect of the Jerusalem Light rail (tram line) at few meters from the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the construction of the so called “City of David National Park” in Silwan at a distance of twenty meters from the Walls of the Old City, the so called “Liba House” project, the extension of the Strauss Building and the Western Wall elevator, which severely affect the visual integrity and the authentic character of the site and requests Israel to restore the original character of the site in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of related UNESCO Conventions and recommendations;
- Also concerned by Israel plan to build a two-line cable car system to connect the Mughrabi Quarter with the Mount of Olives in the Palestinian East Jerusalem, and also urges Israel to prevent any damage to the integrity and authenticity of the property by abandoning the above mentioned project in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of related UNESCO Conventions and recommendations;
- Expresses its concern regarding the restricting obstacles imposed by Israel on the freedom of access that shall be provided to the competent national authorities including the Jordanian Waqf experts to safeguard the Old City of Jerusalem and both sides of its Walls;
- Further regrets Israeli extremist groups' continuous incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and urges Israel to take necessary measures to prevent such provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and inflame tension on the ground;
- Also regrets the damage by Israel in 2013 of the historic ceramics atop of the main gates of the Dome of the Rock and the damage of the historic gates and windows of the Qibli Mosque inside al-Aqsa Compound and affirms, in this regard, the necessity to respect and safeguard the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, as reflected in the Status Quo, as a Muslim Holy Site of worship and as an integral part of a World Cultural Heritage site;
- Requests the World Heritage Centre to continue applying the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the Old City of Jerusalem on both sides of its Walls, and also requests it to report every four months on this matter;
- Thanks the international donors for their generous contributions to UNESCO projects for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem on both sides of its Walls, and calls upon the international donor community to further support, through extra-budgetary funding, activities aimed at the safeguarding of the integrity and authenticity of the Old City of Jerusalem and both sides of its walls;
- Also thanks the Director-General of UNESCO and the World Heritage Centre for their efforts aimed at the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem on both sides of its walls and invites them to report on this matter at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2015;
II13. Recalling 176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting Decision, and all UNESCO Executive Board Decisions relating to the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem,
14. Taking into consideration the 13th and all previous Reinforced Monitoring Reports and their addenda prepared by the World Heritage Centre as well as the State of Conservation report submitted to the World Heritage Centre by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Palestine,
15. Acknowledges receipt of the Jordanian design for the restoration and preservation of the Mughrabi Ascent, submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 27 May 2011, and thanks Jordan for its cooperation in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UNESCO Conventions for the Protection of Cultural Heritage;
16. Expresses its concern regarding the Israeli submission and content of its plan for the Mughrabi Ascent, and requests that the World Heritage Centre consider the design submitted by Jordan;
17. Also expresses its concern regarding the continuous, intrusive demolitions and illegal excavations in and around the Mughrabi Gate Ascent, and calls on Israel to end such violations, respect the Status Quo, and enable the Jordanian Waqf experts as a part of the competent authorities to maintain and safeguard the site in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UNESCO Conventions and Recommendations in particular the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954;
18. Thanks the Director-General for her attention to the sensitive situation in the Ascent and calls upon her to maintain her efforts in a view to implement all related UNESCO resolutions and decisions;
III19. Recalling the Executive Board decisions 191 EX/Decision 9, 192 EX/Decision 42, 194 EX/Decision5(D) and the World Heritage Committee decisions 37Com/7A.23 and 34 COM/7A.20,
20. Decides to implement paragraph 11 of decision 34 COM 7A.20 adopted by the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia at its 34th session as follows:
- a) Phase I: the dispatch, as soon as possible, of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls to assess, as a first phase, the 18 sites included in the Action Plan as pilot sites,
- b) Phase II: the dispatch of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, to assess, as second phase, the major monumental complexes designated in the Action Plan (i.e. the Haram-es-Sharif, the Citadel, the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulcher and the City walls) ;
22. Takes note of the technical adjournment of the five Middle East items on the agenda of its 194th session and their inclusion on the agenda of its 195th session;
23. Invites all concerned parties to facilitate the implementation of the above-mentioned UNESCO joint mission;
24. Thanks the Director-General for her continuous efforts to implement the above-mentioned UNESCO joint mission and all related UNESCO decisions and resolutions, and invites her to report on this matter at the next 39th World Heritage Committee session;
IV25. Decides to retain the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
38 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-14/38.COM/7A and WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add),
- Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 38 COM 7A.14)
- Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 38 COM 7A.15)
- Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 38 COM 7A.31)
- Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.34)
- Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 38 COM 7A.21)
- Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.32)
- Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.35)
- Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.36)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.37)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.38)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.39)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.40)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.41)
- Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 38 COM 7A.1)
- Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.43)
- Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 38 COM 7A.16)
- Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 38 COM 7A.17)
- Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7A.33)
- Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 38 COM 7A.28)
- Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 38 COM 7A.2)
- Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 38 COM 7A.3)
- Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 38 COM 7A.4)
- Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 38 COM 7A.44)
- Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 38 COM 7A.24)
- Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 38 COM 7A.25)
- Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 38 COM 7A.45)
- Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 38 COM 7A.5)
- Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 38 COM 7A.20)
- Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 38 COM 7A.22)
- Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.46)
- Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 38 COM 7A.18)
- Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 38 COM 7A.29)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 38 COM 7A.12)
- Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 38 COM 7A.26)
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 38 COM 7A.19)
- United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 38 COM 7A.30)
- Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 38 COM 7A.23)
- Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 38 COM 7A.13)
Draft Decision: 38 COM 7A.4
The Draft Decision will be presented to the World Heritage Committee during the session.
Documents examined by the Committee38COM (2014)
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).