Denver journal of international law and policy, Vol. 41, 2013, p. 309-343
"The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Israeli sources estimate that between 1967 and 1992 about 200'000 artefacts were removed from the occupied Palestinian territory annually," with approximately 120'000 removed each year since 1995. This haemorrhaging of Palestinian cultural property is occurring in a context where archaeology has been used by Israel "as a pretext to gain territorial control" and exercise sovereign rights "over Palestinian lands [in order] to further its settlement enterprise" and exploit natural resources. Section II traces the history of archaeological laws and practices in Palestine, from the Ottoman era to contemporary Israeli military orders. Section III examines the rules governing the protection of cultural property during military occupation under the aegis of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and the consequences of future Palestinian ratification of the Convention and its 1999 Second Protocol. Section IV tracks the illicit trade in antiquities from Palestine, and the potential effects that ratification of two instruments would have on regulation and restitution – particularly, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. Section V focuses on the underwater cultural heritage off the coast of Gaza and the maritime zones of legal control granted by the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, the first international treaty that Palestine has ratified. Finally, Section VI assesses the consequences of UNESCO membership, including whether membership of a U.N. agency means that Palestine can ratify instruments outside of UNESCO's competence.
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