Tuesday 24 October 2017

Church of the Nativity in UNESCO listing row

Elaine Ganley in Paris

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has approved a Palestinian bid to place the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on its list of sites of World Heritage in Danger -- a move seen by some nations as dangerously mixing politics and culture.

Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said the vote was an affirmation of Palestinian sovereignty over the site, the place where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Israel angrily denounced the vote, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ilana Stein saying the decision "has turned UNESCO into a theatre of the absurd."

"This is a sad day for the World Heritage Committee," she said.

The 21-member committee, meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, voted 13-6 to include the church and pilgrimage route, located in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, on its list of sites. There were two abstentions.

Irish Independent

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