Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mutual Historical Heritage Recognition

It's reported that
The Palestinian Authority is expected to ask UNESCO on Wednesday to recognize the West Bank village of Batir as a World Heritage site

Already it has been recognized as a heritage site:

The Historical and Cultural Museum-Reservation of Garni (Armenia) and the Palestinian cultural landscape of Battir are the winners of this year’s Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes (UNESCO-Greece). The prize will be awarded at a ceremony to be held at UNESCO Headquarters on 24 May.

“In rewarding the management of Garni and Battir, UNESCO wishes to raise awareness of these sites’ beauty and importance, of their tangible and symbolic values, so as to help avert threats to their continued preservation,” said the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, endorsing the recommendation of an international jury. 

The laureates will receive $US 15,000 each. 

...The Battir Cultural Landscape (Battir Village and its surroundings, occupied Palestinian territory) testifies to 4,000 years of the terraced cultivation of vines and olives. Home to 1,150 people, of whom 350 live in the village of Husan, the landscape also features walled terraces, irrigation canals, watchtowers and other dry stone edifices. The site is recognized for its great aesthetic and symbolic value. The jury particularly emphasized action undertaken to stabilize the traditional agricultural use of the landscape in cooperation with local farmers and the adoption of protection legislation and a sound management plan.  Battir is part of a larger area (“Land of Olives and Vines”), which is included in the “Inventory of cultural and natural heritage sites of potential outstanding universal value in Palestine”, issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with a view to future nomination for World Heritage listing.

I guess I am a bit ambivalent.

After all, Battir is indeed a heritage site but of Jewish content.

The fortress of Bar-Kochba, Betar, is located in the village boundaries.

If the Pals. recognize the Jewish historical heritage of the village, I think that that would go a long way to establishing coexistence.

P.S.  Here I am (at right ) with friends Chaim Fischgrund, Nissan Teman and Eli Solomon hy"d in Battir in Late June 1967:

And here we are, at the ruins of the fortress of Betar with Dr. Israel Eldad in 1967:



NormanF said...

They won't.

The Hebrew name is Betar and its also the name of a famous song of the Betar Youth - the youth wing of the Revisionist Zionist movement.

Anonymous said...

There is no Hebrew name for it !! It was called Battir since the end of the 19th century, in which no single jew was on this land. The name Battir consists of two arabic words the first is Bait (hause) the second comes from the arabic word tair (Birds), so if we combine these two words it becomes Bait-tair (Hause of Birds) and with the time the words was shortened into Battir !!

YMedad said...

Isn't it amazing that those who are either ignorant and make up things or don't really like Jews in the least choose "Anonymous" as their names?

Anyone, the name Betar/Beitar appears in the Talmud already (pre-500 CE and probably much early since the battle there was in 135 CE) in the Tractate Gittin, p. 57a–b:-

"Because of the spoke of a chariot Betar was destroyed. For they [the residents of Betar] had a custom: When a boy was born they would plant a cedar tree, and when a girl was born they would plant an acacia. At the time of a marriage, the trees were cut down and the wood was used to make the bridal canopy.

One day Caesar’s daughter was passing by, and the spoke of her chariot broke. Her attendants cut down a cedar and took it to fix the chariot. The residents of Betar came and attacked them, and the attendants went and told Caesar: “The Jews are rebelling against you.” The Romans attacked them [and destroyed the city].

R. Yochanan taught: There were eighty thousand Roman soldiers who beseiged Betar. [The city was defended by] Bar Koziva, who had two hundred thousand soldiers with severed fingers [for the test of admission into Bar Koziva’s army called for one to cut off his own finger to show his bravery]."