Tuesday Jun 18, 201302:01 AM GMT
Palestinian Authority cancels UNESCO Bid under pressure from Israel
Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:59AM
Nel Burden, Press TV, Battir
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Palestinian residents in the village of Battir in the Occupied West Bank submit a bid to UNESCO to preserve their village's ancient roman ruins. But media reports now say the bid has been cancelled following a secret deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Press TV’s correspondent gives us the details in this report

The Palestinian Authority has cancelled plans to submit a bid for the village of Battir to be listed on the UNESCO world heritage list one year after The Church of Nativity was voted on the list.

The council of Battir submitted the bid to the Palestinian Authority which was accepted by Acting Chief of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in January in time for the deadline of February. However a local Palestinian paper stated that the Palestinian Authority revealed in secret that they withheld the bid in order to broker a deal with Israel.

The Mayer of Battir explained to Press TV that they were surprised with the decision to withhold the bid.

Akram Badder further explained that it had been agreed between the Israeli officials and the Palestinian residents of Battir that the site needed urgent protection as the Israeli Authorities plan to build a wall that will destroy the ancient roman ruins and irrigations systems that are still in use today.

A member of the planning team for the UNESCO bid explained the danger for the heritage of Battir if Israel goes ahead with plans for the wall.

He further stated that the bid may have been cancelled due to outside pressures.

Palestinian news paper Maan News revealed that the bid was cancelled by the Palestinian Authority following Israel’s promises that Tel Aviv would allow a team of investigators from UNESCO to conduct an investigation into the possible devastation caused by Israel to areas surrounding Al Aqsa mosque and in Jerusalem Al Quds old city. However one day before the team were to enter Jerusalem al Quds, Israel cancelled the visit, claiming that Palestine was using the investigation for political gain.

The residents of Battir are concerned now that UNESCO has dropped the bid the Israeli army could build a wall that could cut directly through the village---destroying both the agriculture and their ancient roman ruins.
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