Middle East

Jesus' Birthplace Joins Taj Mahal, Timbuktu, and Easter Island [UPDATED]

UNESCO grants endangered status to Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

Update: UNESCO approved the Church of the Nativity as an endangered World Heritage site today in a 13-6 secret vote that has been decried for its political overtones.

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UNESCO is expected to decide this weekend whether Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity will be granted protected status as an endangered World Heritage site.

The Palestinian Authority has rushed a UNESCO vote by applying for endangered status for the Bethlehem church. Most observers regard the application as a bid for international recognition; the Palestinians failed in their statehood bid before the United Nations last year, but did succeed in gaining status as a UNESCO member state.

The three Christian denominations that serve as the church's caretakers have misgivings about the idea, while UNESCO investigators seem unconvinced that the Church of the Nativity is truly endangered, according to the AP.

CT's past coverage of Bethlehem can be found here.

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