RAMALLAH, June 30, 2012 (WAFA) - Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh Friday welcomed a decision by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to include the West Bank city of Bethlehem and its holy sites on the World Heritage List.
The World Heritage Committee voted on Friday in favor of including Bethlehem on the World Heritage List with 13 members voting in favor, six against and two abstained.
“This is a historic day for justice,” said Abu Rudeineh. “The world has once again stood against occupation and for right, justice and international law,” He added.
Abu Rudeineh said the vote was a “recognition of the rights of our people and their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
He thanked the world for voting in favor of the Palestinians, saying, “This decision is one step on a long road toward world recognition of a Palestinian state.”
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had also welcomed the decision, calling it “a victory for rights and justice.”
“This decision reflects the importance to the world of this holy Palestinian city and its holy places and heritage,” he said in a statement issued after the vote.
“It gives hope and confidence to our people of the imminent victory of their just cause,” he added.
It is time for the international community and its institutions to show legal, moral, cultural and political responsibility and put a stop to the Israeli practices that threaten the cultural heritage and civilization of the Palestinian people, said Fayyad.
PLO Executive Committee member and lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi also welcomed UNCESO’s decision.
“The Palestinian people are celebrating this decision as a moment of national pride and affirmation of their rich and unique heritage and identity,” she said in a statement.
“It is a welcome recognition by the international community of our historical and cultural rights in this land and our commitment to the protection and preservation of such significant Palestinian cultural and religious sites in spite of the Israeli occupation and all its prejudicial measures,” she said.
“Today’s decision emphasizes that Israel must be bound by international law and treaties, particularly pertaining to its illegal and detrimental measures as a belligerent occupant and as a major threat to the safety and the responsible preservation of that important segment of human civilization in Palestine,” said Ashrawi.
“We pledge to work within the Kiev Convention with the relevant churches to protect and preserve this site, and we also will proceed to inscribe the rest of the world heritage sites that have been entrusted to the people of Palestine throughout the centuries,” she concluded.