“Israeli” occupation army destroys United Nations World Heritage sites in Gaza
The State of Palestine’s ambassador, Dr. Tamer Almassri, urges the international community to hold Israel responsible for its egregious breaches of international law, which include the demolition of over 200 UN World Archaeological and Heritage Sites in the Gaza Strip. These sites include historic mosques, churches, schools, museums, and other buildings that were destroyed in an unsuccessful attempt to eradicate Palestinian cultural heritage as part of the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.
Palestine’s state demands that any artefacts pilfered from Gaza’s historical sites be returned to the Israeli-occupied territory.
The historical and archaeological sites that have been destroyed, some of which go back 400 years, some to the Phoenician, Roman, and 800 BC periods. Through bombing and direct targeting, the occupation is attempting to alter the characteristics of the Holy Land, Palestine.
The most prominent sites destroyed by the occupation army are the Byzantine Church of Jabalia, the Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia, the Sheikh Shaaban Mosque, the Al-Dhafar Damri Mosque in Al-Shuja’iya, the Al-Khader Shrine in Deir Al-Balah, the Balakhiya Site “Anthedon Port” northwest of Old Gaza City, and the Khalil Al-Rahman Mosque in The Abasan area in Khan Yunis (south of the Gaza Strip), the center of ancient manuscripts and documents in Gaza City, among other important archaeological and heritage sites.
According to international law, particularly international humanitarian law, the 1954 Hague Convention regarding the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and the Second Protocol to the Convention of 1999, which forbids the deliberate targeting of cultural and religious sites under any circumstances, the occupation’s targeting and destruction of heritage and archaeological sites in the Gaza Strip is clearly illegal.
The state of Palestine demands that all international organisations that deal with cultural and historical aspects of human heritage condemn the organised crime that the “Israeli” occupation army is committing in the Gaza Strip, take immediate action to put an end to the crime, and work to rebuild and restore the destroyed historical and cultural sites.