PA to UN: Make Church of Nativity World Heritage Site in State of Palestine (JEWISH PRESS) By: Malkah Fleisher 06/13/12)
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The Palestinian Authority will attempt to register the Church of the
Nativity in Bethlehem as a world heritage site in the country of
Palestine when the World Heritage Committee meets in Russia from June
24 to July 6.
Bethlehem, situated just outside of Jerusalem, is the resting place
of the Matriarch Rachel, and features prominently in the biblical
story of Ruth, as well as in that of her great-grandson, King David.
It is also significant in Christian theology as the birthplace of
Jesus, and became home to a church commemorating his alleged birth at
the site. In the years following Oslo, Bethlehem has become
overwhelmingly Arab and Muslim in population.
Earlier this month, the committee announced it would be considering
registration of 36 heritage sites around the world, including the
Church of the Nativity, which was submitted for consideration by the
Palestinian Authority. This marks the first time the committee has
contemplated listing a world heritage site as Palestinian.
The PA has a right to submit its request for the Church of the
Nativity recognition because the UN Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Palestine as its 195th
member state in October, giving Palestine full state rights in all
UNESCO bodies, including the right to register sites on the World
Heritage List. The UN General Assembly has not recognized Palestine
as a state.
The PA seeks to register the church and an associated pilgrimage path
under an emergency provision for endangered sites. The International
Council on Monuments and Sites has recommended that the PA
application be rejected, as it found the site to be neither under
imminent threat or severely damaged. The group recommended the PA
resubmit its application for regular consideration by the World
Committee members to consider the application include Algeria,
Cambodia, Colombia, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iraq,
Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Qatar, Russian Federation, Senegal,
Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Arab
Emirates. (© 2012 JewishPress. 06/13/12)
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