ISESCO's international conference says international community is responsible for protection of Christian and Muslim shrines
Regional-Palestine, Politics, 6/11/2002
An international conference held in Rabat this June 7-8 on the protection of Islamic and Christian shrines in Palestine said it is the International Community's responsibility to protect these shrines.
In their final communiqu?, participants say an intervention of the international community, and of permanent members of the UN security council, will help abide by international covenants, mainly the Geneva conventions and the UNESCO resolutions that consider the shrines as a universal legacy whose protection against aggression, destruction, desecration and obliteration is a responsibility of the international community.
The conference, convened under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, also held Israel accountable before the international community "for the ceaseless military aggression against the Palestinian people in all their Islamic and Christian components" and of the "arrogant" "Judaization" policy meant to mystify the Palestinian history, continue to alter truths and historical documents, despoil Palestinian museum items to transfer them to Israel, and mis-appropriate historical sites and monuments."
For the international conference, Israeli practices are, under all legal, historical and ethical standards, crimes that defy international law and legislation, and are crimes against humanity. Therefore, participants drew the international community's attention to the seriousness of these criminal acts against Islamic and Christian shrines in Palestine and urged states, international and regional organizations and competent humanitarian organizations to take urgent international actions to protect these shrines and stage an international campaign based on principles of international law.
Participants further underscored that Israel's destruction and devastating military practices, including excavation and oil-prospecting in the Palestinian territories seriously harm Islamic and Christian shrines, in total disregard of the value they represent and that are respected by Muslims and Christians alike, be it for Al Aqsa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, Al-Khalil mosque (Hebron), the Resurrection Church in Al-Quds, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and all other Islamic and Christian shrines in Palestine.
Likewise, governments and international and regional organizations were called to pool efforts toward preserving and protecting the holy shrines in Palestine and to collaborate with ISESCO in staging international media campaigns to increase knowledge of Al-Quds asharif, an international roving exhibition showcasing the city shrines and monuments and the publication of a white book on the city's holy religious sites.
The conference further denounced Israel's decision to prevent Palestinian information minister, Yasser Abedrabbo, and other Palestinian officials from attending the Rabat conference.
The conference heard on Friday at its opening session a message from King Mohammed VI, chairman of Al-Quds committee, who reasserted that peace in the Middle East can only be established through a fair and comprehensive solution, guaranteeing the Palestinians' right to an independent state, with Al Quds as a capital. The sovereign warned over the continuation of Israeli aggressions and provocative acts that threaten to make all peace hopes fade away.
The king warned against the destruction, obliteration or distortion of the religious monuments and historical heritage in the Occupied Palestinian territories and denounced the destructive policy started by Israel since 1948 with the shelling of Al-Aqsa mosque and continued with the occupation of the holy city of Al-Quds in 1967, and the desecration and arson of the Al-Aqsa mosque in 1969. The sovereign who called these acts "painful events" recalled the excavations conducted by Israel in the holy city, the belt of settlements built all around the city and its isolation from neighboring cities and villages, in addition to expropriation of Arab property.
The king called Muslims and Christians around the world to shoulder their responsibility and fulfil their role in preserving their shared religious heritage, saying such a stand would foster the international community's awareness of the need to safeguard the holy shrines in Palestine and shield them against destruction and profanation acts.
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