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Hebron pushes for UNESCO World Heritage status

Feb. 6, 2011 5:08 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2011 5:06 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- As one of several sites identified by Palestinian officials for protection and preservation, Hebron's Old City residents - via the municipality - have put together a proposal to UNESCO to have the city recognized as a World Heritage site.

The move was announced a week after an initiative from PA officials and Bethlehem groups petitioning for the same status for the Old City there.

Municipal officials said the recognition of the Old City as a heritage site would strengthen residents, "against the Judiazation" of the city by settler groups and "the Israeli expansion policy."

Project manager Ala Shahine told Ma'an that the Hebron project would be submitted alongside the Bethlehem initiative.

Shahine said close records of the city, its historical significance and areas of special interest were cataloged during the last two years, with the help of international scholars Jad Thab from Lebanon's world heritage committee and Italian researcher and archaeologist Giovanni Fontana.

The Old City had been mapped, he said, to identify the most ancient buildings, sites for archaeological exploration and artifacts already identified in documents from the Ottoman period.

The historical documents, Shahine said, had been obtained with the assistance for the Turkish Embassy in Ramallah, from archives in Ankara.
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