By Afshain Afzal
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage was hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 3-12 September 2023 in Riyadh and the Al-Ahsa Oasis. 30 nations including Israel attended; focusing on the themes including; World Heritage & Climate Change, World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism, Diversity & Representation of World Heritage and The Digital Dimension of World Heritage. With regard to the Israeli delegation visiting Saudi Arabia many people are confused while carrying out an analysis of the prospects of restoration of Saudi-Israeli relations. It is not correct to believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ever said, “A deal was getting closer”. In fact, it is being confused with President Trumps’s Abraham Accords - 2020 for normalization accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In a recent statement, Israeli President Netanyahu seem too positive to strike a deal with Saudi Arabia but we must not forget Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement, “Whoever thinks peace in the Middle East is possible before our people achieved their full right is delusional.”
If we recall, Israel submitted a declaration at the Secretariat of UNESCO on 31 January 2012, objecting notification of the accession of Palestine to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, on the grounds of accession contradicts Article II of the Constitution of UNESCO as well as the established norms and practices of International Law. On the same lines, the Saudi Kingdom must also register regarding occupied Arab territories and that the Israeli occupation authorities are under obligation to preserve the cultural and natural heritage existing in the occupied territories where Palestinian sovereignty should have existed and that the occupation authorities under paragraph 3 of Article 6 binds whether acceded to the Convention or not are internationally responsible for any attenuation of the cultural and natural heritage. In addition, Article 7 binds the Member States to exert all possible aid to the State whose part of its territories is occupied for the sake of preserving the natural and cultural heritage in the occupied territories against the aggressions of the occupying authorities.
Just to remind, the International Law Commission has issued guidelines on how a State may invoke a reservation clause when signing, ratifying, formally confirming, approving or acceding to the treaty, whereby a State purports to exclude, modify the legal effects of certain provisions of the treaty. Since Saudi Arabia has not ratified many treaties and conventions, it high time to formulate policy that confirms the Saudi Islamic heritage and culture, the wisdom of the crown, and aspiration of the Muslims as well as confirms international law.
President Trumps’s Abraham Accords – 2020, which apparently is viewed as propagating and promoting interfaith and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace among the three Abrahamic religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam and all humanity is not easy to comprehend. Abraham Accord talks about respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom. At the same time the accord talks about ending radicalization and conflict to provide all children a better future. Pursuing a vision of peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world, the Accord gives access to the people who disintegrated Afro-Asia into Africa and Asia and later confined Arabs to a political expression, “Middle East”. They are the one who deprived Palestinians of their ancestral lands. They are victimized because of their religion as Islam. One wonders who were Africans, Asians Palestinian and others before the coming of last prophet in the Divine series, Mohammad Alhe Salam, indeed, followers of the past Divine of Abrahim Alhe Salam and his followers.
When American leadership talks about a number of unidentified Federal agents in the files of 9/11 Commission and is looking for Saudi involvement, what its mean? When during election campaigns American leadership talks about Saudi Arabian intelligence involvement in 9/11 attacks, do this mean “a vision of peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world,” according to Abraham Accord? There is, no doubt, that Washington seems too focused to see Abraham Accord to gain ground in the Middle East and elsewhere. The main aim of US, Israel and their allies is to establish Jerusalem as capital of Israel with Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and declare Saudis and Palestinians as supporters of terrorism.