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Israel Refutes Egypt’s Charges of Failing to Protect Cultural Property

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Israel today refuted allegations of Egypt that it does not comply with the international convention for the protection of cultural property under conditions of armed conflict. Shabtai Rosenne, Israel’s Acting Permanent Representative, informed Secretary-General U Thant in a letter today that the Egyptian charges were “unfounded and misleading.”

Mr. Rosenne recalled that on June 5, when the director-general of UNESCO called upon the belligerents in the Arab-Israel war to observe the Hague Convention, he was assured by Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban that the convention would be fully adhered to and respected by Israel.

In fact, wrote Mr. Rosenne, the UNESCO director-general had been invited to send a representative to visit the historic and cultural sites in the war zones to determine for himself the measure of protection afforded by Israeli authorities. Legal experts, he added, spent the period from July 16 to 18 in Israel discussing various aspects of the convention. Israel, Mr. Rosenne said, was now awaiting the UNESCO director-general’s views following these discussions.

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