UNESCO lists ancient ruins near West Bank city of Jericho as World Heritage Site

© Mahmoud Illean, AP

A U.N. conference voted Sunday to list prehistoric ruins near the ancient West Bank city of Jericho as a World Heritage Site in Palestine, a decision likely to anger Israel, which controls the territory and does not recognize a Palestinian state.

Jericho is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth, and is in a part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that is administered by the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. The listing refers to the Tell es-Sultan archaeological site nearby, which contains prehistoric ruins dating back to the ninth millennium B.C. and is outside the ancient city itself.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the U.N. World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

Israel quit UNESCO in 2019, accusing it of being biased against it and of diminishing its connection to the Holy Land. Israel also objected to UNESCO's acceptance of Palestine as a member state in 2011. But Israel remains a party to the World Heritage Convention, and it sent a delegation to the meeting in Riyadh.

UNESCO, which refers to the site as Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sultan, took pains to clarify that the two are distinct.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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