By Julian Pecquet - 06/29/12 04:35 PM EDT
The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee blasted Friday's decision by the United Nations to accept Bethlehem's bid to gain World Heritage designation for the Church of the Nativity.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) had particularly harsh words for France, the only European country to vote for the resolution. Berman had joined two other Jewish Democrats in a letter Thursday urging Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the current chairman of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee meeting, urging him to reject the Palestinian application.
“We all know that this vote today was not about the Church of the Nativity, as the resolution was opposed by the Church's religious caretakers,” Berman said in a statement. “Rather, this was just another attempt by the Palestinians to make an end run around direct peace negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian strategy of pursuing unilateral UN actions is flawed and dangerous and only moves the parties further away from peace. I'm particularly disappointed with the actions of France, the only European country to vote in favor of this resolution.”