The State of Palestine listed Battir as World Heritage Cultural Landscape during the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar.
The State of Palestine had submitted the site as an Emergency Nomination based on current plans by the Israeli government to expand the illegal Annexation Wall through the heart of Battir putting the integrity of the site in jeopardy.
Rula Ma’ayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, stated the importance of this third UNESCO recognition of a site in the State of Palestine, after East Jerusalem and the Nativity and Pilgrims Way in Bethlehem, as it is in the line of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities strategy to preserve Palestinian cultural and natural heritage sites and grow tourism development into those areas.
Ma’ayah described Battir as a symbol of Palestinian’s attachment to the land and the Olive Tree. She stressed the uniqueness of Battir, a town that was on the Roman route from Gaza to Jerusalem, with terraces bearing witness to thousands of years of human activity with a continuous human presence around the springs from at least the Bronze Age (over 4,000 years). The terraces, irrigation system, and pools were an important milestone in agricultural activity of the area and have been in continuous use since Roman times.
The UNESCO vote confirms the Outstanding Universal Significance of the site, the terrace system, and its globally unique traditional water-sharing system that is still preserved today. It is among the very best examples of this type of terraced landscape, and rich with archaeological remains from throughout the historical record.
Battir is part of a long list of Palestinian Heritage Sites threatened by Israeli colonization policies in need of urgent international intervention.