Palestinians agree to Dead Sea’s contest candidacy


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority has signed on to the Dead Sea’s candidacy in a contest to choose the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement Tuesday night to the candidacy after opposing joining with Israel on the effort for the past several months. 

Under the rules of the global Natural Wonders Internet contest, if a nominated site is located in more than one country, each country must have a contest committee. That committee must be formed by the end of the week.

The Dead Sea, which is said to have a good chance of winning a spot, sits in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority had refused to establish a committee due to the participation of an Israel municipal council that represents settlements. Israel and Jordan had signed participation documents.

A victory for the Dead Sea in its category of lakes, rivers and waterfalls could bring more tourism to the area and raise awareness of the lake’s uncertain future, since it is shrinking yearly.

Next week the field will be narrowed from 261 to 77. From that list, 21 sites will be chosen for the final vote in 2011.

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