U.S. and Israel oppose UNESCO “world heritage status” for Church of Nativity

The US and Israel have condemned UNESCO for declaring the Church of the Nativity a world heritage site.  They complain that the Palestinians use of “imminent threat” to the church was nothing more than a political move.  When asked about the UNESCO decision Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Palestinians are  “engaging in unilateral actions that only distance peace.”  US ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, also expressed regret saying that he was “profoundly disappointed” by the vote.  Both Israel and the United States claim that the Palestinians use of “imminent threat” is unfounded and misleading.  Bethlehem is under the control of the PA and thus is not in any danger from Israel, as the Palestinians are claiming.  But, and this is a very big but, the city of Bethlehem is surrounded on three sides by the Israeli separation wall.  Ostensibly the separation wall was built to keep Palestinian militants out of Israel.  In reality the separation wall is part of Israeli’s attempt to grab and annex as much Palestinian land as possible.  For Palestinians living in Bethlehem every year they see more and more of their land disappear. Israel’s insistence of settlement building has also not stopped.  And while there are no new settlements being built in Bethlehem right now, the same basic principle remains, and that is the persistent and illegal annexation of Palestinian land.  The Church of the Nativity may not be in immediate danger right now but the very fabric of the Palestinian people is.  Netanyahu’s claim that this is a political move is right though.  Of course this is a political move.  Politicians be they Palestinian or Israeli make political moves.  It is no more a political move though then Israel’s brainwashing of Evangelical conservatives to support Israel is a political move.  The idea alone that this is a detriment to peace is enough to make your stomach turn.  If the South African’s had tried to designate an ancient site during apartheid would we have told them not to because it might effect gaining their freedom from whit minority rule?  Palestinians are playing the hand they were dealt.  They are not content to sit passively sit at home and watch their land and people disappear.  After decades of occupation they are tired of waiting for Israel and the United States to act.

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