Israeli soldiers stand atop tanks in the Golan Heights near Israel's border with Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Syria has complained to UNESCO over an Israeli archeological dig which it says is under way in the Golan Heights, in the village of Bir Ajam.
The village is in an area of the Golan Heights that was captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, but was returned to Syria as part of the 1974 disengagement agreement.
The Israel Antiquities Authorities said that it is not conducting a dig in that area, but on October 17th, Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama Hacohen received a letter from UNESCO informing him that Syria had issued a complaint against Israel for its activities in this village.
“On behalf of the director-general I wish to inform you that the Syrian authorities have brought to our attention the fact that archeological excavations in the village of Bir Ajam in the Governate of Quanta have been taking place since 11 July, 2106.
“As you know the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic are Party, asserts that necessary cultural property preservation measures shall be taken in close cooperation with the relevant national authorities.
“As a consequence, I should appreciate it if you would kindly bring this information to the attention of the relevant Israeli authorities and share their views with the secretariat,” the letter stated.
Shama Hacohen said that the “delusional complaint shows how the Arab states use the organization against Israel.”