Palestinians nominate Church of Nativity as endangered site

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem has been nominated as an endangered site on the World Heritage list by the Palestinian Authority, which was recognized last year by UNESCO as the member state Palestine.

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The bid will be decided at the World Heritage Convention in St. Petersburg, Russia from June 24-July 6. 

The action, which is opposed by Israel and the United States, could potentially cause problems for the UN organization.  While the Palestinians police the Bethlehem’s streets, Israel still has authority to determine what enters and comes out of the area. 

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

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

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