From J Post
"The secretariat of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has come out against a bid by the Palestinian Authority to use an emergency procedure to register Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity under the country of “Palestine” as a World Heritage site.
“At the UN, where the General Assembly each year adopts more resolutions criticizing Israel than on the rest of the world combined, this is a spectacle as rare as Halley’s Comet,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said.
“This is the first time in recent memory that a draft resolution circulated by the United Nations – let alone by UNESCO, which recently elected Assad’s Syria to its human rights committee – openly rejected a Palestinian claim or position,” Neuer said. His Geneva-based nonprofit group monitors UN activity."
From UN Watch:
"The United Nations circulated a draft resolution that would reject a Palestinian bid to list the birthplace of Jesus as an endangered World Heritage site, citing a report by international experts who investigated and dismissed claims that the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem was under any specific danger.
The draft resolution will be considered by UNESCO's 21-nation World Heritage Committee at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, later this month.
The committee — which includes Algeria, Cambodia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mali, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates — has the power to overturn the expert-drafted text, but insiders say that Arab states may not win the required two-thirds majority, noting that several states, including Russia, the host country, may be hesitant to upset an objective evaluation submitted by UN professionals...
The reason for the extraordinary occurrence is very simple: the Palestinians have just been admitted to UNESCO as a member state, and this is their first time taking advantage of the World Heritage procedure, which is governed in its initial stages by experts who are non-political -- instead of by the very political 195 governments, most of whom join the automatic UN majority that rubber-stamps Arab resolutions...
a comprehensive investigation and report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) – a Paris-based entity that advises the World Heritage Committee on which nominated properties to list — said the very opposite.
“[T]he Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, Palestine should not be inscribed on the World Heritage List on an emergency basis," said the experts.
"ICOMOS does not consider that the conditions required by paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines are fully met, concerning damage or serious and specific dangers to the Church of the Nativity that make its condition an emergency that needs to be addressed by the World Heritage Committee with immediate action necessary for the survival of the property.”
ICOMOS found that, contrary to the Palestinian submission now before the UNESCO committee, the Church of the Nativity was neither “severely damaged,” nor “under imminent threat”.
There was no “immediate action… necessary for the survival of the property”. Despite the Palestinian claims, Israel was not found to be a major obstacle to the preservation of the Church of the Nativity.
In fact, the report pointed out that the church’s roof – said to be at greatest risk – was repaired “most recently in 1990, when works were implemented by the Israeli military authorities.”