The Palestinian Authority has asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, to designate the Church of the Nativity, the Bethlehem church built on the traditional site of Jesus Christ's birth, as a world heritage site.
"One of the most significant sites of universal importance to humanity is the Old Town of Bethlehem and the birthplace of Jesus," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. "Palestinians long to share our patrimony with the world."
No sites under Palestinian Authority control are on the U.N.'s list because Palestinians do not have a state recognized by the U.N.
Khloud Daibes, a Palestinian tourism minister, admitted the request is part of their campaign to build their state. The move could be seen as being more about politics than history.
A decision from UNESCO is expected by mid-2012.