Palestinians nominate Church of the Nativity as endangered UNESCO site
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Palestinians nominate Church of the Nativity as endangered UNESCO site

Israel and the US oppose the move, which would complicate funding for the UN organization

The Church of the Nativity (left) and the 19th-century mosque of Omar ibn al-Khattab looking over Manger Square in Bethlehem (photo credit: Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash90)
The Church of the Nativity (left) and the 19th-century mosque of Omar ibn al-Khattab looking over Manger Square in Bethlehem (photo credit: Najeh Hashlamoun/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was nominated as an endangered site on UNESCO’s World Heritage list by the Palestinian Authority.

The bid will be decided at the World Heritage Convention in St. Petersburg, Russia, from June 24 to July 6. UNESCO, the scientific and cultural agency of the United Nations, recognized Palestine last year as a member state.

Israel and the United States are opposing the action, which could cause problems for UNESCO. While the Palestinians police the Bethlehem’s streets, Israel still has authority to determine what enters and leaves the area.

After UNESCO voted 107-14 in favor of granting member status to the Palestinians, existing US laws mandated Congress to withdraw its annual commitment of $80 million of foreign assistance to the organization.

President Obama has said, however, that he would like Congress to clear the way for UNESCO to reapply for funds.

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