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STATEMENT ON THE VISIT OF THE ITALIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TURISM TO HEBRON

Data:

11/10/2013


STATEMENT ON THE VISIT OF THE ITALIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TURISM TO HEBRON

With regard to the news concerning the Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism visit to Hebron, speciously defined “in solidarity with the settlers”, the Consulate General of Italy wishes to point out that Minister Bray’s mission in Palestine had precisely the opposite purpose, that is contributing to the Palestinian institutional building in the field of culture and tourism promotion, guided by the firm belief that current peace negotiations will have to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian sovereign, democratic, independent, viable and contiguous State, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

During the mission, Minister Bray and the Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rula Maayah, signed a Joint Declaration envisaging a series of cooperation initiatives concerning legislation for promoting the historic and artistic heritage, museum management, tourism promotion, and restorers training, all sectors in which joint activities are already in place and which were visited by Minister Bray on this occasion in Jerusalem, Jericho and Bethlehem.

The visit to Hebron has been based on the will to strengthen our initiatives in a context which is particularly sensitive, where Italy is strongly committed through its contribution to the TIPH observation Mission (whose mandate is “to promote a feeling of security to the Palestinians of Hebron”) and through a series of initiatives in cooperation with the Palestinian authorities, including the Governatorate and the Municipality of Hebron and a plurality of other stakeholders, in social, health, cultural heritage promotion, urban services management and renewable energy sectors, while is under consideration a possible Italian active contribution to the establishment of the new Industrial and High Technology Park in Hebron.

During his visit to the Old City of Hebron, Minister Bray has sorrowfully seen the consequences of occupation in order to give testimony about them. The presentation of such a visit as a visit of solidarity with the settlers (with whom the encounter was absolutely unintended), apart from being inaccurate and totally deceptive, seems to be in the interest of those who try to undermine the efforts made in order to further strengthen activities implemented to the benefit of the Palestinian people.

Italy confirms its position, in line with the European Union, according to which settlements remain illegal under international law and reiterates that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.


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