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Politics of Place in the Middle East and World Heritage Status for Jerusalem

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the unique nomination process of Jerusalem to the World Heritage List, and the responses by a variety of international players. It indicates that while World Heritage aims to promote heritage of 'universal' value, its application is necessarily subordinate to nationalist interests. The preservation of Jerusalem has been a concern of colonial and international bodies throughout the twentieth century. The core of the Holy City, the area surrounding the Haram al-Sharif, has played an important role in the fissures of identity politics in Jerusalem. The British Empire was the first outside actor to attempt to set the policy of historic preservation in Jerusalem, during the inter-war period. While World Heritage aims to apply assessment and management skills through the involvement of 'experts', this 'rational' approach directly conflicts with the subjective and partisan nature of heritage within nationalistic politics.

Keywords: British Empire; colonial bodies; Haram al-Sharif; Jerusalem; nationalistic politics; World Heritage List



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