Mughrabi Gate bridge 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A diplomatic row erupted between Israel and Jordan this week after UNESCO
censured Jerusalem over plans to do renovation work on the Mughrabi Gate bridge,
linking the Western Wall Plaza with the Temple Mount.
censure from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee called on Israel to cease all
plans to renovate the bridge in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The censure was
accepted unanimously by the committee’s 21 member-states. Australia,
Switzerland, Mexico and Brazil voiced reservations about the censure’s language,
but did not oppose it, and along with Sweden and Estonia, asked the committee to
debate the petition, but were rejected.
Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s
ambassador to UNESCO, attempted to address the committee, but Egypt objected and
he was denied the floor. Israel has observer status at the World Heritage
The committee also called for a UNESCO mission to visit the
site to ensure renovation work had been suspended, an option Israel
Barkan later said Israel is “furious” and “shocked” with Jordan
for filing the complaint.
The bridge was due to be torn down last week,
after Israel and Jordan reached an agreement that it would be razed due to
An earthen ramp leading to the gate collapsed six
years ago, and was replaced by a wooden bridge as a temporary
reported Monday that Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and
Bahrain had filed a complaint against Israel with UNESCO over the
Jordan later said it agreed to the renovations under US
reported that the Israel Police are recommending
building a permanent bridge to Mughrabi Gate in September, while world attention
is diverted by the Palestinian attempt to unilaterally declare statehood at the
UN General Assembly.
Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud
al-Kayed told the kingdom’s Petra news agency that UNESCO had “expressed its
deep concern over the continuation of the Israeli excavation work inside and
around the Old City of Jerusalem as well as failure of the Israeli side to
provide the World Heritage Center on information on these excavations.”