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Jericho Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jericho Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

   Jericho, an ancient biblical site with cultural and historical significance relating to many religions, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site at a committee meeting taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Jericho was one of 42 new sites that was given UNESCO status and became the fourth site to be located in Palestine. While it is a decision celebrated by many, there are two sides to every story and everyone has a different opinion regarding the topic. 

   Many have criticized the decision based mainly on a Palestinian government official, who has in the past acted in anti-semetic manners. While obtaining his doctorate, the official wrote a dissertation which resulted in his book The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism. That book was later denounced by multiple Jewish groups because of its anti-semetic topics and statements [BBC].

   “They say that Hitler killed the Jews for being Jews and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews…. No. It was clearly explained that they fought them because of their social role and not their religion.” [The Guardian]. The officeholder has made multiple incorrect claims about the start of the Holocaust in his speech to the Fatah Revolutionary Council 2023. 

   This statement  was criticized by politicians, the public, and multiple news sources for its anti semitic remarks. Although most of these claims are recorded in various manners, the officeholder went on record in 2003 denying the fact that he was anti-semetic stating, “I have no desire to argue with the figures. The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind,” [BBC]. 

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   These actions have prompted statements from people and organizations all around the world including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

   While Jews around the world were busy celebrating Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, Jericho, which is in the state of Palestine, was getting labeled as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People claim that UNESCO sites are only for the reason of conservation, and while that may be true, people who are traveling look for sites to visit and this new designation could generate a lot of revenue which would go straight into the pocket of the government and therefore the official may make use of it. 

However, Jericho is one of the oldest cities in the world to date and could contribute to research and other revelations about the site that archaeologists may have not found already. Should the decision to label such  an important location aUNESCO World Heritage Site be reliant on the leader of that country and should the people let this influence UNESCO’s decision?

   The United States left UNESCO formally in 2017 with Israel following its lead after UNESCO made decisions concerning Israel that were viewed negatively by the two countries. Although the United States left formally in 2017, funding to the organization was cut off earlier when Palestine became a member country of the organization. 

   UNESCO is the abbreviation of  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and was founded in 1942 during World War Two when Europe and the allies were engaged in conflict with Nazi Germany and the axis powers. The European countries and its allies formed UNESCO in England during a conference with governments looking to rebuild their education systems realizing the war would not end for another few years, the movement quickly evolved in both what it does and the countries that took part in the program.

   Jericho is an ancient city located on  the West Bank in Palestine although it is not far from Israel. Besides its location, its historical value to society is unmeasurable having been one of the earliest continuous settlements in history.  Jericho also provides evidence of permanent settlements  which was the first step toward civilization in the time period that the city was active in. Many archaeological expeditions at the site have been conducted over the years with many findings. One of the most prevalent expeditions found that the site was abandoned during the iron age dating back to 1200 BC. Since the creation of Palestine in the 1920’s, Jericho has been under Palestinian control however after the six-day-war in 1967, Israel took over. In 1993, Palestine regained its control over Jericho after the Oslo accords were signed. 


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Sophia Cooper
Sophia Cooper, Editor-In-Chief
Sophia Cooper is the Editor-in-Chief. She is a senior and this is her third year at The Buzz. When Sophia is not writing for The Buzz she is listening to music, practicing her trombone, drawing, or reading. Her favorite song is Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi and her favorite movie is Beauty and The Beast 2017 live action version on Disney+. Her favorite thing to write about is  international relations, current events, or Broadway news. After high school, she plans to study Journalism at a four year institutuon.

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