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Palestinians seek more UNESCO site recognitions

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The Palestinian Authority says it will seek to have additional religious West Bank sites recognized by UNESCO as endangered World Heritage sites.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki named a site holy to Jews and Muslims in Hebron where biblical patriarchs and their wives are buried, and Mount Gerizim near Nablus.

Last week, UNESCO approved Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity as an endangered site in a move Palestinians hailed as a key step toward statehood. The United States and Israel dismissed it as cynical politicization of the cultural body.

Malki said the church’s recognition was the start of a “long term project.”

Israeli government spokesman Yigal Palmor dismissed the plan to add more sites as “purely propaganda.” He hoped UNESCO would reject the move.

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