The Palestinian Authority has refused to nominate the Dead Sea for a worldwide contest to select the new seven natural wonders of the world, and as a result the famous salty sea will probably be disqualified from the contest next week.
The Dead Sea is currently ranked number six in voting in the "Lakes, Rivers and Waterfalls" category, which would guarantee it a spot in the next round of the New Seven Wonder contest. However, in order to advance according to the contest rules, the PA must join Israel and Jordan in forming a committee of support for the lake's nomination, which it refuses to do.
“We will not be forming a committee,” PA Tourism Minister Khouloud Douaibes told Reuters, claiming the Israeli part of the committee “has been consulting with settler councilmen on occupied land.”
Jordan has already agreed to participate, and its Dead Sea committee of support is headed by Nayef Al-Fayez, the country’s Health Minister.
The Israeli committee to support the sea was formed by the Megilot Dead Sea Regional Council, which consists of six communities to the northwest of the sea, just inside the Green Line. It did not include communities in Judea and Samaria, although these also neighbor the Dead Sea, but aroused the ire of the PA anyway.
“We’re very disappointed by their decision,” Megilot spokewoman Gura Berger told Israel National News. “We hope that in any case the Seven Wonders committee will allow the Dead Sea to move on to the next stage of the contest.”
Berger explained that if the Dead Sea overcomes the political barriers in its way, it will most likely be nominated for the final stage of voting, in which she hopes dedicated Dead Sea fans can propel it to the top slot.
Voting for the New Seven Wonders of the World is currently underway at http://www.new7wonders.com/