UNESCO Silent as Hamas Bulldozes Heritage Site for Use as Terror Base
Hamas has been slowly eroding a proposed UNESCO World heritage site to use as a terror training base, and UNESCO isn’t doing a thing about it. From Al -Monitor:
“Earlier last month, amid overwhelming criticism from public figures and nongovernmental organizations, the military wing of the Islamic movement of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, bulldozed a part of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea. The Brigades damaged the harbor in order to expand its military training zone, which was initially opened on the location in 2002, according to Ejla.”
The Anthedon seaport dates back over 3,000 years and is considered one of the most important sites in the Middle East. It was designated an international heritage site by UNESCO in 2012. It contains mosaic floors with historical pillars from the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ages.
The Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism said in a press statement that it has authority over the site, and it would not permit harm to the monuments.
“Due to rising population in the region, the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land. This is why the ministry has agreed with the different responsible parties on using a limited part of the location temporarily in a way that won’t harm the underground monuments there in any way,” the statement read.
But Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela told Al-Monitor that the location was taken for military use and not demographic purposes.
“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly used without harming it at all,” Khela explained.
UN Watch, an NGO that monitors the UN for anti-Israel bias, released a press statement saying that it had sent letters to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova and EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton calling on each to take action.
UN Watch notes that the biannual UNESCO meeting started April 10th and “Although…[it]runs until April 26,[and] lists five agenda items concerning Palestinian issues—which US Ambassador Killion has described as ‘highly politicized’ and designed to ‘single out Israel’—there is currently no scheduled discussion to address the month-long Hamas bulldozing of the proposed heritage site.”