Palestinians Hail UN Nod For Nativity Church As Victory In Bid For Global Recognition [View all]
By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, June 29, 3:08 PM
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The Palestinians on Friday persuaded the U.N. cultural agency to list the Church of the Nativity — the place where Christians believe Jesus was born — as an endangered World Heritage site despite misgivings by churches in charge of the basilica.
The Palestinians hailed the nod by UNESCO as a step forward in their quest for global recognition of an independent Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967.
The centuries-old basilica is located in a part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank where the Palestinians have self-rule. UNESCO’s decision was seen by them as validation of their rights to the territory.
“We are ecstatic,” Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said of Friday’s 13-6 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.