From email@example.com Mon Apr 30 08:21:00 2001
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 16:44:40 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [southnews] Arabs see Israeli 'threat' to antiquities
Egypt is hosting a conference of antiquities officials from around the Arab world to discuss how best to preserve the region's monuments and ancient sites.
But the three-day meeting at the Arab League headquarters will focus on antiquities in Israeli controlled territory and in particular in Jerusalem which Egyptian and Palestinian officials say are under threat.
The participants have examined a Palestinian memorandum opposing an Israeli request to register several disputed sites under its name on the Unesco world heritage list.
The Israeli request was rejected last November at the Unesco world heritage committee's meeting in Cairns, Australia, but a new submission is expected to be made in Paris in June.
BBC Cairo correspondent Caroline Hawley says the Middle East has a wealth of ancient monuments whose preservation is on the agenda of the Cairo conference.
But Arabs see none as being under greater threat than those in the Old City of Jerusalem.
'Stealing' charge The organisers of the Cairo gathering say it is just one of several disputed sites Israel is trying to register.
They have accused the Israelis of trying to steal Palestinian cultural heritage.
Gabala Ali Gabala, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, says Arabs must now take a firm stand:
We are hoping to achieve an Arab consensus, he said.
You see when a nation tries to assume the cultural heritage of
another nation this is is a very, very dangerous sign.
Syrian concerns over sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are also expected to feature prominently in the meeting.