Konwencja Haska z 1954 r. a konflikt na Bliskim Wschodzie
THE HAGUE CONVENTION OF 1954 AND THE HOSTILITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
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The first practical application of the Hague Convention of 1954 during hostilities in the Middle East is analysed by the author who at the same time reminds that there were no possibilities for intervention by UNESCO for the sake of cultural property protection during the earlier armed conflicts as the Vietnam War or the Suez conflict of 1958. At the end of 1967 and in the beginnings of 1968 on initiative of Director General of UNESCO and in agreement with the parties interested the Commissioner Generals have been appointed to the Government of Israel and to Governments of the four Arab countries, i.e. Egypt, the Kingdom of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. At the same time during six years of hostilities the Executive Council and the Conference General of UNESCO were several times dealing with claims submitted by Jordan and the other countries with respect to behaviour of authorities of Israel with regard to cultural property in territories under occupation. The above claims concerned the illegal demolitions, archaeological excavations, transfers of historic monuments and the like Both Executive Council and Conference General during these years took several resolution’s disapproving the measures taken by Israel and demanding the cease of such practice which unfortunately have proved unsuccessful. More successful proved to be activities of Commissioner Generals in their respective places of action. Due to their e ffective work and authority they gained as a result of their activities it was possible to settle or at least to clear a number of disputable cases and to incline the occupational authorities to resign of some measures intended for changing the character and townscape of Jerusalem. From among such cases should, above all, be mentioned here that of the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls which originally were transferred from the Rockefeller Museum to the Museum of Israel and later, after conservation, have been almost completely returned. In quite similar way was settled the case of an altar taken from Banyas, Syria that after some time has been sent back to its proper place. Much effort was devoted to clear the matter of a fire of a widely known Al-Aksa mosque which, as has been later stated, was burnt out not as a result of intended setting on fire but as a result of failure of electrical installation. The above mosque is now rebuilt by WAKF, a Moslem Religious Foundation acting in agreement with the Corporation of Jerusalem. Less successful proved the endeavours aimed at inclining the Israel archaeologists to resign of excavations in the area of Jerusalem’s Old Town and of demolition of some objects in the same area which might lead to disturbances in the traditional landscape of the Old Town Quarter. Summing up his considerations the author comes to a conclusion that the Hague Convention, though not entirely free of certain lacks and obscurities and unable to ensure the full protection to cultural property during the hostilities, can palliate some their results that as a final result may be of importance both for cultural heritage of countries involved in a war conflict and the whole mankind as well.
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