The decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include the ancient city of Jericho/Tel Al-Sultan on the World Heritage List has sparked anger from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In a statement issued on Monday, September 18, 2023, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs described UNESCO’s decision as “unjust” and affirmed that ‘Tel Aviv’ would work to change “all unfair decisions made by the organization.”
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered the decision as another example of the “exploitation of the Palestinians of UNESCO and the politicization of the organization.”
UNESCO added the ancient city of Jericho, known as “Tel Al-Sultan,” to its World Heritage List following a vote by the organization’s World Heritage Committee on Sunday. The decision was made without objections from any member states of the organization.
Tel Al-Sultan, which dates back more than 8,000 years and is considered older than the pyramids of Egypt in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank, is an oval-shaped tell containing prehistoric deposits and includes the Ain Sultan spring nearby.
This archaeological site holds global importance as the world’s oldest fortified town and a successful model for the human settlement journey, beginning with the Neolithic period and the advent of plant and animal domestication.
With this achievement, Palestine now boasts five officially registered sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. These sites include Jerusalem (the Old City and its Walls), Bethlehem (Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route), Battir (Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem), and Hebron (Old Town of Hebron).