International experts undermine PA’s UNESCO bid. Syrian Christians flee village after rebels issue ultimatum. Israeli ambassador appointed vice president of the UN General Assembly.
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Israel and the Palestinians
• Experts investigating the state of the Church of the Nativity conclude the building is not in any urgent danger and that PA hype to the contrary is hot air. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS — pdf format) — an organization which will advises UNESCO on World Heritage bids like the PA’s — writes:
“[T]he Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, Palestine should not be inscribed on the World Heritage List on an emergency basis. . . ICOMOS does not consider that the conditions required by paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines are fully met, concerning damage or serious and specific dangers to the Church of the Nativity that make its condition an emergency that needs to be addressed by the World Heritage Committee with immediate action necessary for the survival of the property.”
UN Watch adds:
The expert evaluation is public and known. Yet does anyone expect the 21-nation UNESCO committee — which includes such great promoters of human rights and culture as Algeria, Cambodia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mali, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates — to rule based on objective findings?
• Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, was elected one of 20 vice presidents of the UN General Assembly. Israel HaYom explains why it matters:
In his capacity as vice president, the Israeli ambassador will be fully involved in setting the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly for the coming year, and will also be tasked with leading plenary discussions in the absence of the General Assembly president.
The next General Assembly agenda is expected to be turbulent and laden with, among other issues, the worsening situation in Syria, the Iranian nuclear challenge, the implications of the Arab Spring and attempts by the Palestinians to renew their unilateral bid for recognition of statehood.
• Palestine Monetary Authority boss: The PA has reached the maximum limit on money it can borrow from Palestinian banks. Maan News says the PA already owes $1.1 billion in bank loans.
• Haaretz notes new Palestinian-Vatican tensions:
The draft of an economic agreement between Israel and the Vatican contains no distinction between sovereign Israel and the territories occupied in 1967. The lack of a preamble containing such a distinction is at the center of heightened tension between Palestinian Christian denominations and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Vatican.