Palestinians have hailed Friday's granting by UNESCO of world heritage status to the Church of the Nativity (pictured) in the West Bank city of Bethlehem as an "historic day for justice," according to an AFP report in The West Australian.
"This global recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people is a victory for our cause and for justice," president Mahmud Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
"This decision shows that it's natural that the world is with us and recognises the rights of the Palestinian people and the state of Palestine," he said.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called it "a historic day." Erakat told AFP the decision was "another step on the long road towards worldwide recognition of the state of Palestine within 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital."
UNESCO, the United Nations cultural body, overrode Israeli objections to urgently grant world heritage status to the church worshipped as the birthplace of Jesus.
The 13-6 secret vote in Russia's Saint Petersburg to add the Church of the Nativity and its pilgrimage route to the prestigious list was received with rousing applause and a celebratory fist pump by the Palestinian delegation chief.
FULL STORY Palestinians hail historic UNESCO Nativity church move (West Australian)