LIST OF ARTIFACTS AND SITES DAMAGED IN THIS SUMMER'S GAZA FIGHTING IS DUE TO BE PRESENTED TO UNESCO
Experts have begun to assess the toll this summer’s Gaza-Israeli conflict took on the region’s cultural heritage. More than 40 historic sites, including a mosque, a church and an ancient bath, were damaged or destroyed in Gaza during the 51-day war this summer, reports the Middle East news organization Al-Monitor.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in the Gaza Strip is preparing to present a full list of destroyed antiquities and ancient sites to Unesco, the Organization of Arab Culture and international human rights organizations.
The scale of the destruction may be difficult to determine because many of Gaza’s largest antiquities collections are in private hands. One collector, Jamal Abu Alian, told Al-Monitor that 70% of his collection, stored in a small private museum in al-Zanna village in the southern Gaza Strip, was destroyed during the fighting.
Around 8,000 antiquities are housed in similar private museums across the region, according to Mohammad Khalleh, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities’ representative in Gaza. An initiative launched by the ministry in 2010 to unite the territory’s private museums within a public umbrella facility has foundered due to lack of funding.
Meanwhile, plans for a new Palestinian Museum in the West Bank continue to move ahead. The $19m building, designed by the Dublin-based architecture firm Heneghan Peng, is due to open in 2016. Although the ceasefire set in August has held, the Israeli-Gaza conflict killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis, according to the BBC.