Tel AVIV: The UN cultural organization UNESCO recognized ruins near the ancient city of Jericho as a Palestinian World Heritage Site on Sunday, sparking condemnation from Israeli officials.
The archaeological ruins near Jericho are located in the southern West Bank, which Israel conquered with other territories in 1967. The Palestinians claim it as part of an independent state of Palestine with the Arab-majority eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital.
The UN cultural organization voted at a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to list the millennia-old Tell as-Sultan as a World Heritage Site.
Israel ceased to be a UNESCO member in 2019 because it considers the organization biased against Israel, but it was present in Riyadh as an observer, according to media reports.
A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the country saw the decision as “another sign of the cynical use of the UNESCO organization by the Palestinians and of the politicization of the organization.” The ministry said it would work with the help of friendly states to “change all the perverse decisions.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said UNESCO’s decision was one “of utmost importance, one that testifies to the authenticity and history of the Palestinian people.” (DPA)