Palestinians seek U.N. heritage site OK

March 8, 2012 at 9:32 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 8 (UPI) -- Palestinians have asked the United Nations World Heritage Committee to register the Church of the Nativity as a Palestinian heritage site, officials said.

The Jerusalem Post Thursday said the Palestinian Authority has drawn up a list of 20 historical sites located in the pre-1967 borders to register as national Palestinian heritage sites.

The U.N. body is scheduled to convene in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the end of June but could not formally accept the Palestinian application for the Bethlehem church until Thursday while it waited for final status issues with Israel to be resolved, said Omar Awadallah, head of the U.N. department in the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority asked the U.N. body to make an emergency exception and accept its request even though the deadline for the June meeting as passed, the newspaper said. Awadallah said the heritage site request has been in the works for more than four years.

While Palestine has not been accepted as a member state of the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority is permitted to register sites under the name of Palestine after the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization accepted it as the 195th member of its organization in October, the Post said.

None of the sites on the list are located in Jerusalem, and include the old city in Nablus and Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, the newspaper said.

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