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Israel Tells UNESCO: Don’t Locate Jericho In ‘Palestine’

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Such a move would constitute “blatant interference in a conflict in which it is not its role to intervene,” MK Dan Illouz said.


Likud lawmaker Dan Illouz sent a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay asking her to prevent ancient Jericho from being listed as in the “State of Palestine.”

Illouz, a member of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus, wrote the letter in response to what he said was the intention of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to vote in favor of the move at its 45th session scheduled to be held in Riyadh on Sept. 10-25.

“The Palestinian Authority works systematically to erase all ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel,” Illouz wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

הרשות הפלסטינית פועלת באופן שיטתי למחוק את כל הקשרים של העם היהודי לארץ ישראל.

לאור כוונת ועדת המורשת העולמית של אונסק”ו להכליל את יריחו העתיקה כאתר ב”מדינת פלסטין” שיגרתי מכתב למזכ”לית הארגון. החלטה כזו תהווה התערבות בוטה של אונסק”ו בסכסוך שלא תפקידו להתערב בו.

יריחו היא… pic.twitter.com/vCnMfdygmQ

— דן אילוז – Dan Illouz (@dillouz) September 3, 2023

A decision to assign Jericho to “Palestine” would “constitute a blatant interference by UNESCO in a conflict in which it is not its role to intervene. Jericho is first and foremost a city of biblical significance. Blurring this fact is an insult to millions of Jews and Christians all over the world. It is our duty to stop the P.A.’s subversion and insist on our right to our land,” the MK continued.

The Land of Israel Caucus and Binyamin regional leaders scheduled an “emergency tour” of biblical Jericho for Sunday, according to a statement.

“We commend UNESCO for recognizing the historical significance of
ancient Jericho. Indeed, its biblical context should be world-renowned,” Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Gantz, who is leading the tour, said.

“This must be done within the framework of the truth. I call upon the organization to carefully consider this move and to recognize this important site for what it is—the first city conquered by the Jewish nation entering the Land of Israel, and the site of many historic biblical events. It has always been significant for the people of Israel, our Jewish heritage and for everyone who reads the Bible and knows its history,” Gantz said.

Illouz in his letter also cites previous UNESCO decisions related to Hebron and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem that have damaged ties between Israel and the U.N. agency.

The Biden administration in June decided to rejoin UNESCO four years after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agency due to its anti-Israel bias.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu filed notice in October 2017 that Israel would withdraw its membership in the organization at the same time as the United States.

In a 2016 resolution, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee registered the Tomb of the Patriarchs, located in Hebron, in the name of the “State of Palestine” on its “List of World Heritage in Danger.”

UNESCO passed 47 resolutions in 2009-2014, 46 of which were directed against Israel and one of which criticized Syria.

Image: Jericho in Judea and Samaria. Photo by Tamar Hayardeni via Wikimedia Commons.

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