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Palestinian village added to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in Danger

The UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added the ancient Palestinian village of Battir to its list of “world heritage sites”, as well as the “sites in danger” list on Friday.

The village, located near Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, has been suggested by Palestinians as an “emergency nomination” to be inscribed as a “site in danger.”

According to UNESCO, the decision has been made after finding that: ” the landscape had become vulnerable under the impact of socio-cultural and geo-political transformations that could bring irreversible damage to its authenticity and integrity, citing the start of construction of a separation wall that may isolate farmers from fields they have cultivated for centuries.”

A statement by the World Heritage Committee explains that: “The Battir hill landscape comprises a series of farmed valleys, known as Widian, with characteristic stone terraces, some of which are irrigated for market garden production, while others are dry and planted with grape vines and olive trees. The development of terrace farming in such a mountainous region is supported by a network of irrigation channels fed by underground sources. A traditional system of distribution is then used to share the water collected through this network between families from the nearby village of Battir.”

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