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UNESCO lists Palestinian village as heritage site

The Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, Rula Ma’ayah, has described the decision as courageous.

Source : Presstv / 21 Jun 2014

The UN has decided to put a Palestinian village in the West Bank on its list of world heritage sites, potentially blocking Israel from building parts of its apartheid wall through the area.

After a Friday emergency meeting in the Qatari capital, Doha, the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the agricultural community of Battir village will enjoy a protected status.

UNESCO said the village was recognized urgently in view of “construction of a separation wall that may isolate farmers from fields they have cultivated for centuries.”

The decision will also bolster the Palestinians’ case in a high-profile court battle against the Israeli regime, attempting to force Tel Aviv to change the route of the apartheid wall.

The Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, Rula Ma’ayah, has described the decision as courageous.

Ma’ayah said the move would be “etched in the memory of my people.”

“Today you have taken... a courageous decision against confinement, exclusion and domination,” he said.

Rula Ma’ayah, who also serves as Palestinian minister of tourism and antiquities, added that the decision guaranteed the village international protection against “allowing the Israeli occupation authorities to damage it.”

The history of the village of Battir goes back to ancient times, and its Roman-era irrigation system is still used by Palestinian farmers.

The Palestinians joined UNESCO in October 2011 and quickly moved to submit a number of sites for recognition.

An emergency application for Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was also approved by UNESCO in June 2012, despite Israeli objections.

 

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