The United Nations World Heritage Committee has voted to designate the Tell es-Sultan archaeological site in Jericho as a “World Heritage Site in Palestine.” This decision, made at a conference in Riyadh, has been met with contrasting reactions from the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The newly designated site, located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Jericho, contains ruins dating back to the ninth millennium BCE. Jericho itself is renowned as one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Ministry welcomed the decision, emphasizing its significance in acknowledging Jericho’s “cultural, economic, and political significance” and its testament to “10,000 years of human development.” PA Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Rula Ma’ayah highlighted the site’s outstanding universal value, making it deserving of World Heritage status.
However, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its disapproval, characterizing the move as another instance of the Palestinians’ “cynical use of UNESCO and politicization of the organization.”
Jericho, located in the Jordan Valley between the Jordan River and Jerusalem, holds historical significance dating back to the modern Stone Age, earning it recognition as the oldest walled city in the world in 2010.