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June 12, 2012 7:30 am

International Council Rejects Palestinian Claim on Church of Nativity

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Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Photo: wiki commons.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has nominated the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route in Bethlehem for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List—which would classify them as under urgent danger and worthy of special protection from the United Nations—despite evidence that those sites do not face such danger.

In advance of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, from June 24-July 6, the PLO has argued that the “Israeli occupation” has hampered “the supply of appropriate materials” and created an “emergency situation” at the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route

However, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which consults with UNESCO on the heritage list, has said the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route do not meet the conditions for inclusion on the list because they are not “severely damaged” or “under imminent threat.”

ICOMOS noted that Israeli military authorities conducted the last repairs to the church, to its roof in 1990, and asked that the Palestinian Authority to  “resubmit the nomination in accordance with normal procedures for nomination.”

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