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Threatened village proposed as next UNESCO world heritage site
Published Friday 07/12/2012 (updated) 25/12/2012 14:11
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Battir, once the bread basket of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, now
faces high unemployment and risk to its unique heritage due to
Israel's occupation and separation wall. (MaanImages/Stringer)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The ancient village of Battir, near Bethlehem, will be one of two sites submitted to UNESCO for World Heritage status by Palestine next year, an official said Friday.

UNESCO granted Palestine full membership last year, and inscribed the first Palestinian World Heritage, Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, this June.

Palestine can submit two applications for heritage site recognition per year, said Omar Awadullah, a foreign ministry official with the UN portfolio.

By the end of January 2013, Battir will be proposed to the UN cultural agency, he said, noting that the second site will be selected from a list of 25 potential heritage locations in Palestine.

A UNESCO committee will visit Battir before Dec. 25 as part of the application process, Awadullah said.

The 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.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Thursday that UNESCO's Ramallah office had assured the PA it would accelerate recognition of the site.

The letter was attached to a new legal petition against the planned construction of the wall around the village, which officials say would destroy the ancient heritage, the report said.

In September, the newspaper reported that an Israeli state agency had opposed the wall route in Battir, the first time an Israeli government body had challenged the wall.

The Nature and Parks Authority said the wall will also lead to the extinction of wild animals by inhibiting their movement.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
07/12/2012 23:00
'The Nature and Parks Authority said the wall will also lead to the extinction of wild animals by inhibiting their movement.' There's a definite irony there. The extinction of Palestinians by inhibiting their movement is seen as a consummation devoutly to be wished for.

2 ) desertson / UK
08/12/2012 00:31
Silwan must be a priority. But Israel takes no notice of any international laws or conventions, so nothing makes any difference. The USA will veto any censuring of Israel, as it always does.

3 ) Lynx / Palestine
08/12/2012 07:36
god bless Palestine and its countless cultural and historic landmarks! The village ought to build its own visitors center on the outskirts and employ the local youth as guides...By all means protect the site itself from the Zionist atrocity.

4 ) Robert / US
08/12/2012 08:55
Why dont you mention how israel has smashed down whole villages and bulit right over them !!! A Crime against Palestinians and Humanity !!!.

5 ) shirley / australia
08/12/2012 11:17
time palestinians used Isreal court decisions to strenghten theur arguments and condem Isrealis and gov for not abiding by their courts decisions this may help but in areas with wall it should be impolded if used for security as It should be put on Isreali border if security argument usedno STATE of PALESTINE occupied illegallyand hurry abbass to claim control air space and sea convention secure gas fields and GENEVA conventions

6 ) les Caf?s-cartographiques / France
12/12/2012 14:03
BATTIR to explore the remarkable Landscape thousands of years old well-kept by its Villagers. ? A landscape “says” something. It “speaks”. The human trace on the natural environment, which may have to do with economics, religion, planning or cultural heritage, is a sign that stimulates the observer and helps to understand a particular time-space, that of an era, or a culture or a civilization at a given stage ?. Pierre GENTELLE TRACES D'EAU a geographer with the archaeologists (Belin Fr. 2003)
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