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UNESCO to Inspect Jerusalem’s Old City

For the first time in nine years, Israel has agreed to allow the UN organization to inspect the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, writes Dalia Hatuqa.
Tourists stand on a footbridge that leads from the Western Wall to the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City November 28, 2012. Jerusalem's Old City is holy to the world's three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For Jews it incarnates ancient Israel, for Christians it is where Christ spent the last days of his life and for Muslims, it is where the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (JERUSALEM

After routinely declining them access to the Holy City, Israel has agreed to allow UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) experts to assess the state of the “cultural heritage” of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls, which it lists as “endangered” World Heritage sites.

Israeli authorities have continuously refused to have an investigative committee from the UN body visit the holy sites in Jerusalem, citing fears of bias toward the Palestinians. But on Tuesday [April 23] Israelis approved the move after Palestinians agreed to postpone five resolutions they were due to present to UNESCO’s executive board in Paris. The resolutions would have condemned Israel for its ongoing occupation and for endangering the holy sites and Arab character of east Jerusalem.

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