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Author Assif
#1 | Posted: 7 Feb 2011 11:15 

Author winterkjm
#2 | Posted: 5 Oct 2011 13:53 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Perhaps some movement on Palestine becoming a UNESCO member state. First hirdles have been passed, Unesco will consider Palestine's bid soon.

The 2nd article details the US reaction to the prospects of Palestine joining Unesco. Since the US provides 22% of Unesco's budget, there are threats any aid and or US participation to Unesco will stop if Palestine is recognized prematurely. nesco-bid.html

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 31 Oct 2011 14:30 | Edited by: Solivagant 
So, 5 hours ago, Palestine was accepted as a member of UNESCO.

Interesting and very varied voting pattern - US/Israel against of course but also, UK - abstain, France - in favour, Germany - against!

Seems likely to put the cat among the pigeons

a. Palestine nominations for WHS - Assif's post above suggests that Bethlehem could be voted for in 2012 but did Palestine "officially" get it lodged by end Jan 2011 (how could it if not a member? And also it will have to accept/ratify the World Heritage Convention) - if not it would presumably be ready for Jan 2012 and a 2013 WHC consideration?
b. US withdrawing funding - could it still nominate in such circumstances?

Interesting times.

Author winterkjm
#4 | Posted: 31 Oct 2011 16:52 
It is obvious the Obama administration does not want to cut off funding for UNESCO. However, it is impossible at the moment to overturn this law with Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Palestinian admission "triggers longstanding (US) legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO."

I don't think this has any effect on US nominations and it seems highly unlikely there will be a repeat of the previous US boycott of Unesco. Though I could be wrong, from all the information as of late only funding will be cut.

Author Assif
#5 | Posted: 31 Oct 2011 18:32 
The German attitude towards the Jewish-Palestinian conflict is driven by Germany's understandable deeply rooted guilt sentiment towards the Jews, hence it is usually Pro-Israeli to the extreme.

Author winterkjm
#6 | Posted: 1 Nov 2011 16:52 
More bad news for Unesco, Canada is now also cutting all funds.

Author Solivagant
#7 | Posted: 30 Nov 2011 02:49 | Edited by: Solivagant 
"Intertesting" difference in the approach which UNESCO has taken to showing the boundaries of Palestine and Israel on its Web site.

The link for Palestine shows a map with "Jerusalem" indicated as a single entity whose exact location as between Israel and "Palestine" is perhaps ambiguous even when the map is "zoomed".

The link for Israel on the other hand shows Jerusalem clearly divided into "West Jerusalem" and "East Jerusalem" with the latter outside Israel.

"Cock up" or "Conspiracy"?? The latter situation is the correct de jure one but why didn't the Palestine map adopt the same rules? It is at least very "careless" of UNESCO and at worst a deliberate favouring of Palestine. Just putting a "disclaimer" on the maps really isn't good enough.

I was also very surprised to discover that Palestine has had an entry on the "Intangible Cultural Heritage" List since 2008 -how could that be when UNESCO didn't "recognise" Palestine until recently?

Author Solivagant
#8 | Posted: 1 May 2013 03:18 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We are planning a trip to Israel and have been looking at whether/how best to take in the West Bank's Inscribed and T List sites. My 2 previous visits to the area in 1964 and 1980 saw it under 2 rather different "regimes" the former when it was part of Jordan and the latter before the setting up of the State of Palestine so those experiences are not of much use now for informing our plans! We will have a rent-a-car in Israel but understand that most of the companies (certainly the "International brands") don't allow their cars to be taken across the "border". In fact, I have, so far, only found one Israeli company which will allow its cars to be taken into Palestine "Greenpeace". We don't want to give it more than a day so, an alternative could be to leave the Israeli car in Jerusalem, "cross" into Palestine and hire a local taxi with driver for the day. This might be less of an issue since, in order to avoid the hassle of having a car in Jerusalem, we are thinking of planning the Jerusalem part of the trip at the end, handing the car back when we arrive there and spending the Jerusalem days (and any time in Palestine) without a rent-a-car at all and taking a bus/taxi down to Ben Gurion airport. Candidates for a Palestine visit are
a. In the Centre - Bethlehem, Jerusalem terraces, Qumran, Jericho, El Bariyah
b. To the South - Hebron
c. To the North Nablus, Mt Gerizim and Sebastia.

a. Could the 5 "central" sites be taken in during a 1 day taxi hire?
b. Would there be time either to go north or south in the same trip and, if so, which might be more rewarding?

Author Assif
#9 | Posted: 1 May 2013 08:06 | Edited by: Assif 
A few tips regarding Palestine and Israel:

1) I wouldn't do Hebron unless you are interested in the current Israeli segregation policy. The old town of Hebron is under Israeli controll and looks deserted.

2) Jericho and El Bariyah are enough for one day. In Jericho don't miss the ancient synagogue and the famous Hisham Palace. Both are not on the t-list but Hisham Palace has been discussed as a candidate and could easily make it to the list.

3) Qumran is under Israeli controll and can be easily visited together with the Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi (two days trip). The famous Dead Sea Scrolls are housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.

4) What you list under centre is more interesting than north.

5) In Jerusalem don't miss: the new Yad VaShem Holocaust museum, the renewed Israel Museum with an excellent archaeological exhibition, Davidson archaeological park

6) Tel Aviv - new Bauhaus Centre at the Dizengoff Square

7) If you are going to visit the Biblical tells: I would recommend Bersheba and Megiddo.

8) Incense Route: Avdat (Oboda) is a mustsee. Do the nearby Ein Avdat spring which is lovely. The other two are nice too.

9) If you go to the Bahai Gardens mind you have to make a reservation. Nearby is the tiny prehistoric museum where the findings from the Carmel caves are on display.

10) From the Israeli T-sites I would recommend: Tel Dan, Capernaum, Degania, Seppheris, Besan (Beth Shean), Beth Guvrin, Ramon Crater, Timna

Author Solivagant
#10 | Posted: 2 May 2013 04:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Thanks for the tips Assif. But they have raised a few more questions!

a. "Areas under Israeli Control". I had, apparently mistakenly, assumed that I couldn't take my rentacar into ANY area shown on maps as being on the "Palestine side" of the border. I had not appreciated that the "Palestine National Authority" does not have full control over all this area. So, presumably we can drive an Isaeli rentacar which is not authorised to go into "Palestine" into such areas still under Israeli control. But, how do I find out where the open and closed areas are? For instance - I thought we might not go to Masada/Ein Gedi partly as we have already been there but it also seemed that one couldn't just drive in a rentacar "directly" via the shortest route from Jerusalem to the north of the Dead Sea and then down the western coast but had to go all the way round via Hura and Arad. Also, since I assumed that Qumran was in "Palestine", it would be better to do that whilst seeing the other "Palestine sites". How would we get to Qumran in an Israeli rentacar?
b. Palestine T List sites not under Palestine control. As a corollary I also hadn't realised that Palestine was including on its T List, sites not under its control!! (Though we have discussed this issue on the Forum with regard to the "Pilgrimage route" part of the Bethlehem inscription). What other Palestine T List sites are NOT under Palestine control - you mention Qumran and Nablus - what about Umm al-Rihan? Any others? By what route could i get from Isael to Nablus without entering any area of Palestine control?
c. Baha'i Gardens. You mention the need for a reservation (as you do in your review on this site). But, having looked at the Baha'i Web site, I can find no mention of such a requirement, nor any facility to make a reservation. It only refers to "walk in tours" at Haifa and Akko about which it says "The tour is free of charge and no reservation is necessary. Participants are accepted on the spot in the order of arrival and to the extent of available space." . See

Author Assif
#11 | Posted: 2 May 2013 14:08 
a. Most rental companies wouldn't let you drive their cars across the border even if the area is under Israeli controll. Under such circumstances you could have your Palestinian taxi driver drive you to Qumran on the same day with Jerichoa and El Bariyah. And you are right, combining the Palestinian and Israeli parts of the Dead Sea wouldn't be possible then.

b. It's Hebron which is under Israeli controll. Nablus is under Palestinian one. I think Mt Gerizim too is under Israeli controll. I don't know about Al Rihan, but I think all the rest are under Palestinian controll.

c. It used to be the case that you had to reserve a place at the tour but you are right: the policy has changed and now you just need to arrive to one of the tours early enough to have a place.

Author Walter
#12 | Posted: 5 May 2013 12:17 
I rented a car last year in Tel Aviv airport, and it was OK to drive in area under Israeli control. They only specified I could not drive in Area C.

West Bank is divided into three specific zone (Area A, B and C), A beeing controlled by Israel, C by Palestine Authority, and B some kinf of mix.

You can drive to Qumran and then the dead sea without trouble (you have to cross check-point, which is easy with an Israeli licenced car and a foreign passport) as it is under total Israel control (area A).

I am planning a trip next June and I am looking for ways of visiting some site on the Palestine list or TL, that are in area C

Bethleem seems to be easy to reach from Jerusalem by bus (bus 21 it seems from Damascus Gate).
I am looking into getting to Mar Saba monastery (included in the El-Bariyah project) and to the Battir village (Jerusalem terrace). It probably necessitates renting a cab from Bethleem.

Last year, I visited Bet Gurim-Maresha regions and caves and hidings, on the Israel TL. It is close to Jerusalem, and I particularly enjoyed it.

Author Solivagant
#13 | Posted: 5 May 2013 12:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
West Bank is divided into three specific zone (Area A, B and C), A beeing controlled by Israel, C by Palestine Authority, and B some kinf of mix.

Thanks for the tip Walter - it gave me a "hook" to make some Goggle searches.
Actually it is Area C which is under Israeli control and A under Palestinian.
"Area A is under full control of the Palestinian Authority and consists primarily of urban Palestinian areas.
Area B is under Palestinian civil control and shared Palestinian and Israeli security control and includes the vast majority of the Palestinian rural areas.
Area C is under full Israeli control. Palestinian agencies are responsible for education and healthcare"

There is a map here
and here 257afc004aefa1?OpenDocument

Yes Qumran is certainly in C but Jericho looks to be in A which is a bit of a nuisance if one is trying to take in Qumran in a rentacar and Jericho on the same trip. It might be possible I guess to leave the rentacar outside the Zone A boundary and take a taxi the short distance to Jericho itself - but I am not sure about the safety/security issues of leaving an Israeli rentacar unattended in Zone C -right next to the Zone A "frontier"!!

Which rentacar company did you use last year?

When you say you are going "next June" do you mean "this June" i.e next month? If so I look forward to hear your experiences about Zone A - We won't be going until Dec/Jan

Author winterkjm
#14 | Posted: 20 May 2013 22:09 
Granted, Jerusalem is not a "Palestine" WHS any more than it is for Iarael. Yet, this seems the best place to include the latest cultural heritage politics between the 2 parties. Israel has cancelled off the UNESCO mission to Jerusalem, citing Palestinian politicizing of the event.

Author Solivagant
#15 | Posted: 21 May 2013 00:14 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The link for Israel on the other hand shows Jerusalem clearly divided into "West Jerusalem" and "East Jerusalem" with the latter outside Israel.

I notice that this (posted Nov 11) is now no longer the case - the maps on the Palestine and Israel pages are exactly the same and no longer mention "East" and "West" Jerusalem, leaving the city "ambiguously" located!!

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