Conservation Policies in Palestine: A critical review

Conservation Policies in Palestine: A critical review

By Mazen Iwais

e-dialogos, Vol.1 (2011)

Introduction: An accurate analysis over the subject of conservation and awareness of cultural-archaeological heritage requires going beyond the recurrent idea of the systematic external destruction and placing the discussion deeper into the Palestinian courtyard. Palestinians have more than 15 years of work in conservation – a good ground to conduct this discussion over and an inherent call to bear more responsibility in determining priorities and agendas in conservation.

The first part of the paper addresses the subject of traditional architecture, which has been considered under the discipline of the Ottoman archaeology. This particular field study was influenced by the Ethno-archaeological approach and Processualism throughout the 1980s. Subsequently, a presentation of the NGOs’ trends active in the field since 1994 to the present day.

The second part is a diagnosis of the objectives and historical circumstances which led to the transition between the two eras. From the 1980s and 1990s up to the present time, a significant shift was noticed in how researchers approached the subject of traditional architecture. There are several articulations or landmarks of the shift, primarily the political shift “Palestinian Entity or PNA”, which determined the transition of the subject from the academic environment to the NGOs environment. The third part goes toward an assertive analysis, presenting thematic frames and examining the implementation of conservation policies with focus on the practice of these policies in the restoration and rehabilitation process of traditional architecture.

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