PA Approves Plan to Register UNESCO Sites

The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday decided to form a committee to prepare applications to register sites on UNESCO’s world heritage list.

Omar Awadallah, the head of UN file in the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the committee’s mission was to prepare heritage sites for the list to protect them from harm.

Each ministry has been asked to cooperate with the UNESCO committee, and will prepare the files.

“For example, the Ministry of Culture will present the Palestinian narrative to register it as intangible cultural heritage,” while a different department would be charged to register the Dead Sea as a body of water.

In January, Palestinian experts finalized Palestine’s 2013 submission to the World Heritage Committee, proposing the ancient Bethlehem village of Battir as a heritage site.

The committee will vote on whether Battir takes World Heritage status at the June general conference.

Palestine was admitted to the UN cultural agency in 2011, and last June UNESCO designated Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and the nearby pilgrimage route as a World Heritage site.

Battir village, with a population of about 4,500, uses an ancient system of irrigation that has provided fresh water to the community for centuries.

The proposed route of Israel’s separation wall will damage the terraces used for irrigation and cut off villagers from their fields and source of income.

(Ma’an –

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