(JTA) — The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City tops CNN’s list of “25 magnificent structures on the verge of extinction.”
“A holy city for three different religions, it attracts millions of tourist with over 200 monuments, including the majestic Dome of the Rock. But political tension has hardened relations between Israel and UNESCO, preventing any preservation plans from moving forward,” CNN wrote in its feature.
The Old City and its walls have appeared on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations List of World Heritage Sites in Danger since 1982.
The media watchdog Honest Reporting condemned placing the Dome of the Rock on the list, saying it is not under threat of extinction.
“CNN was under no obligation to buy into this outrageous nonsense, particularly as the Old City is probably the most protected heritage site in the Middle East,” Honest Reporting said in a statement. “All religious sites are protected by law and freedom of religion. Even the most disputed of those, the Temple Mount, is under the control of the Muslim Waqf under an agreement to maintain the status quo.
“In fact, the biggest threat to the heritage of the Old City is from the Palestinians themselves who have carried out unsupervised excavations on the Temple Mount, destroying many priceless antiquities in the process.”
No. 2 on the CNN list is the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The United States had two sites: the Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio, at No. 9, and the Portland Public Services Building in Oregon, at No. 24.