Against the backdrop of UNESCO's intention to declare ancient Jericho a Palestinian heritage site, the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset led by Knesset members Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit) and Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism) sent a letter to ambassadors from the member states of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, demanding that they act with their representatives on the committee to drop the issue the agenda.
The vote on the declaration, which the lobby is trying to prevent, is expected to take place this weekend, as part of the UNESCO conference in Riyadh taking place this month, with the participation of the 21 member countries of the organization's World Heritage Committee.
"We were amazed and shocked to hear about the intention of the UNESCO plenary, of which your country is a member, to respond to the request of the Palestinian Authority and hold a vote on 'Palestinian heritage sites' including the ancient Jericho site, which is associated with the biblical city of Jericho, as a 'Palestinian heritage site'. This decision is against both common sense and justice as well as the principles of the United Nations and UNESCO," the lobby to the ambassadors.
They also listed three main reasons why they believe the decision is inappropriate. "First, the Palestinian Authority's comprehensive move to deny Israeli history in the territories subject to its possession. Second, the construction of an 'alternative history' by the Palestinian Authority, which has nothing and nothing to do with the facts, contrary to the obligation according to the principles of UNESCO and the United Nations. Thirdly, the encouragement of terrorism and the prevention of freedom of access to heritage sites by the Palestinian Authority, precisely from those native populations to whom this heritage belongs."
In their letter to the ambassadors, the MKs cited many historical references to the fact that ancient Jericho, is an important piece of history in the history of the Jewish people, which are based on quotations from the Bible, excavations that took place at the site, and other sites that remained built in the area. In addition, they emphasized that until now, for all the decades of excavation and investigation in the area, no find has yet been found that indicates a connection between the site and the ancient city and Palestinian heritage.
They also noted the 'success' of the Palestinian Authority during its decades of rule in Jericho in turning the city into a growing center of terrorism. "The turning of the city of Jericho into a center of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority guarantees that the Jews and Israelis, whose heritage the site is supposed to preserve, will be excluded from the place and their lives will be in danger if they get there."
"It is inconceivable that an organization that claims to represent global cultural and educational values would be a partner in the biggest falsification of historical facts in the last several decades. The issue must be removed from the agenda of the upcoming UNESCO Council meeting and the organization's agenda as a whole, and the consequences of such a declaration should be clear and unequivocal to the heads of the organization," the letter concludes.