ST PETERSBURG, (PIC)– The Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem have been inscribed on the UNESCO list of world heritage by a vote of delegates at a meeting in St Petersburg.
The 21-member committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, voted 13-6 to include the church and pilgrimage route on its list of sites. There were two abstentions. The US and Israeli voted against.
Israel, which objected to Palestine being recognised by the UNESCO in the first place, denounced the decision saying that it was political. This despite the fact that it managed to get two sites in 1948-occupied Palestine on the list under (Israel).
The Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine) was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger as it is suffering from damage due to water leaks. The inscribed property is situated 10km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in 339 A.D. and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original edifice. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.
The United States and Israel campaigned to foil the Palestinian application and tried to pressure countries to vote against its approval.
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