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World Association of International Studies

Post My UNESCO Experiences with the Palestinians
Created by John Eipper on 11/08/18 3:25 PM

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My UNESCO Experiences with the Palestinians (Carmen Negrin, France, 11/08/18 3:25 pm)

John E asked me to elaborate on my experience working with Palestinian refugees.  I was not involved in work with the camps, just assisting in building ministries related to UNESCO's fields of competence.

But the Palestinians didn't necessarily follow our recommendations. For instance the pyramidal structure and organization was always broken: if a staff member was friends with the Minister (Secretary), he/she would skip the hierarchy, creating a mess of disinformation within the Ministry. A long tradition to go against!

We also suggested for example the separation of Culture and Tourism for the obvious reasons of the exploitation of a site versus its protection; this was not followed. We suggested certain limits for a protected historical zone in Bethlehem.  The next day we found out that in spite of Arafat's personal signed agreement, the Mayor made his own deal with a Japanese hotel chain in exchange for a road leading to his own home (I left before finding out if it was actually carried out).

And so on. Agreements were broken by the Israeli government, as it was the case with the television station, which was bombed, as well as with Palestinians. But we did manage to help carry out some long-lasting positive changes, if anything an increase in awareness. Always frustrating to see how difficult it is to build and how easy it is to destroy!

JE comments:  Alas, Carmen, your last sentence is wisdom for the ages.  Thank you for this frank appraisal.  There's something surreal about the Japanese running the inns of Bethlehem.  (No room at the inn, the manger option, etc.)

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