Although the Palestinian Authority had previously opposed nominating the salty lake that borders the West Bank, Israel and Jordan as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, Haaretz reports that as of today, the PA is on board.
The New Seven Wonders is an international Internet voting competition that seeks to raise environmental awareness of the seven most stunning natural formations on the globe. The Dead Sea was listed among 77 candidates until three days ago when the Palestinians boycotted the campaign because the Israeli side includes the Jordan Valley settler council. For a site located in multiple countries to be listed, all the countries must agree to nominate it. Now that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has pushed to participate, the Sea will be reinstated. There are six more days to vote at the Seven Wonders site.
If it will help save the Dead Sea, the contest couldn’t come sooner. The Sea’s surface area has plumetted from 1,000 sq. km.in 1950 to 650 sq. km. in 2006. The water level drops about a meter a year and leads to a dangerous sinkhole phenomenon on both sides of the shore.
In 2007, New Seven Wonders picked man-made structures including Jordan‘s Petra, the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu in Peru.
The current vote is only on natural phenomena. Other Middle Eastern sites contending include Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshes, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hasa Oasis and Israel’s Ein Gedi Oasis.
(Photo via http://www.ee.bgu.ac.il/~icecs04/tour2_views.html).