Palestine submits 20 heritage sites to UNESCO

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Published Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Palestinians are poised to submit the names of 20 sites in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for addition to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, an official said on Thursday.

"Within the next few days, we will submit a tentative list of 20 sites to be added to the list," Omar Awadallah, head of the UN department at the Palestinian foreign ministry, told AFP.

Palestine was accepted as a full member state of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation last year, despite objections from Israel and the United States, who have refused to recognize the state.

But its tenure as a full UNESCO member came into force on Thursday, and diplomats now plan to move quickly to register Palestinian sites.

"From today we are a full party as a state so now we can start all the things that states can do within the rules of the convention, one of them is that we can submit our list to the World Heritage committee," he said.

The tentative list that will be submitted is the first step in the process of obtaining World Heritage status for the sites, and is intended as an inventory of the locations a member wishes to register, UNESCO says.

The list includes sites ranging from Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, to Hebron's walled Old City in the southern West Bank.

It also includes the caves at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, as well as a series of aqueducts and Ummayad palaces, some of which are in Jerusalem.



What about the ancient Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem which is being demolished to put a parking lot, and a so-called “museum of tolerance” on it? Will the Ramallah authority dare to add it to the list, not to mention other sites in the rest of Palestine? No chance.

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