Official: Palestinians shelve UNESCO heritage site application as goodwill gesture to Kerry
JERUSALEM – A Palestinian official says Palestinians have shelved an application to the U.N.'s cultural agency to have a West Bank village recognized as a world heritage site.
The official says the request to have UNESCO recognize the village, Battir, was postponed indefinitely as a gesture to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is trying to restart peace talks. Kerry, who is meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, asked both sides to avoid provocative moves. Israel opposes Palestinian moves to join U.N. bodies in the absence of a peace deal.
The official spoke anonymously Wednesday because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
Palestinians hoped UNESCO recognition for Battir would help protect its lands and ancient irrigation system. They say it's threatened by the proposed route of Israel's separation barrier.