ICOMOS Press Release on the Situation in Gaza and Israel

Israel Gaza2 ENFollowing ICOMOS’ appeal on 17 October, and in the face of the increasingly distressing developments over the last months, ICOMOS again expresses its sadness and horror at the unacceptable and unconscionable price being paid by civilians, in particular children, and at the destruction of cultural, archaeological and living heritage, since the present round of this conflict began over two months ago.

Cultural heritage not only plays a central role in the history of this ongoing conflict but also serves as a source of social cohesion and humanitarian values, and gives people a sense of place, belonging and identity. The heritage of Gaza, with its over 3000-year history as a strategic crossroads of civilisations, whose traces – religious buildings, historic buildings, museums, archaeological sites, traditional neighbourhoods – can be found throughout the Strip but especially in and around the densely urbanised Gaza City in the northern part, has suffered irreversible damages – and every further day of fighting puts it at greater risk. Among others, reports are available on the destruction of the 7th century Great Omari Mosque and airstrikes within the compound of the 5th century Church of St. Porphyrius. Furthermore, mass population displacement and destruction of homes and neighbourhoods will have an incalculable impact on the living culture and intangible heritage of the Palestinians.

ICOMOS again calls on all parties to do all in their power to protect cultural heritage and to respect to the letter and the spirit their obligations under international law, both treaty and customary – and in particular the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two protocols, the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. ICOMOS reminds and stresses that the intentional targeting of cultural and religious sites (that are not legitimate military objectives and have no imperative military necessity), as other civilian objects, is prohibited specifically, under any circumstances, in international humanitarian law and is considered a war crime.

ICOMOS is in constant contact with its colleagues in both Israel and Palestine. Our International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICORP) and its Crisis Monitoring and Response Working Group are tracking developments, gathering information on impacts to cultural heritage and preparing strategic response and recovery activities.

ICOMOS welcomes the UN General Assembly resolution A/ES-10/L.27 adopted on 12 December 2023, demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to Gaza. ICOMOS urges all parties involved to work toward a sustainable cessation of hostilities.

ICOMOS offers its scientific and technical assistance and cooperation to all those working to protect the heritage in the region and towards paths which embrace dialogue, mutual respect and dignity for the people and their shared cultural heritage – as an indispensable element to rebuilding peace. As always, our thoughts remain foremost with our colleagues in both ICOMOS Israel and ICOMOS Palestine, and their families.

Picto doigtRead the full press release in English / Spanish

By using this website you agree to the use of cookies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, the display of videos and the measurement of audiences.No cookies are used to track you for commercial or advertising purposes.

Your browser and online tools allow you to adjust the setting of these cookies. Learn more

I understand

Cookies Policy

ICOMOS informs you that, when browsing the ICOMOS website and all the pages of this domain, cookies are placed on the user's computer, mobile or tablet. No cookies are used to track users for commercial or advertising purposes.

A cookie is a piece of information stored by a website on the user's computer and that the user's browser provides to the website during each user’s visit.

These cookies essentially allow ICOMOS to:

You will find below the list of cookies used by our website and their characteristics:

Cookies created by the use of a third-part service on the website:



For information:

You can set up your browser to alert you of the presence cookies and offer you to accept them or not. You can accept or refuse cookies on a case-by-case basis or refuse them once and for all. However, some features of the ICOM website cannot function properly without cookies activated. 

The setting of cookies is different for each browser and generally described in the help menus. You will find more explanations on how to proceed via the links below.

Firefox   •  



Internet Explorer


Dowload ICOMOS Cookies Policy