Monday, September 26th, 2016

The threat to world heritage

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Palestinians managed to convince the United Nations agency UNESCO that the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem faces imminent danger, in part because the church needs repairs and in part because Israel maintains sovereignty over the West Bank region. The church was listed as “an endangered world heritage site” which, according to the Associated Press, implies “culpability” by Israel.

Of course, any reasonable person would recognize that if a threat to the Church of the Nativity exists beyond the overdue repairs, it certainly is not from the state of Israel.

In a separate story, the Associated Press reports that in Timbuktu, Mali, a number of tombs of Muslim saints were destroyed, despite the tombs’ presence on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites that are (now, were) in danger. No, they weren’t destroyed by Israel, or any Western power. Islamic extremists tied to al-Qaida destroyed the Muslim tombs. In fact, they claimed they did it in response to UNESCO placing the tombs on the world heritage list.

So if there is a real threat to “world heritage,” and it’s politically incorrect to point to the nihilists within the Muslim faith, can we at least blame UNESCO?

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