Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed Tuesday night an agreement allowing the natural phenomenon to be considered for the list, thus finally removing Palestinian opposition that the Dead Sea be submitted as a joint Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian candidate.
As reported at the beginning of the week, all the states sharing the territory around the site are required to create a joint committee by July 7 in order to submit the Dead Sea's candidacy for the list.
While Israel and Jordan signed participation documents wholeheartedly, the Palestinians opposed such a move, claiming that the Israeli contingency is made up in part by a regional council representing settlements.
"We will not establish any committee," said Palestinian Tourism Minister Khuloud Daibes, "because the Israeli committee discussing the issue with settlers on occupied land in violation of international law. Because of this, we are not interested in being part of this issue."
Tuesday night, however, the Palestinian political leadership had a change of heart, and Abbas signed the documents allowing the establishment of the committee.
Amnon Liberman, the Israeli tourism minister's media advisor, explained that in order for the candidacy to be submitted, a joint effort between the Tourism Ministry and the Civil Administration, including the personal involvement of Tourism Minister Misezhnikov, is necessary. He ensured that the paperwork will be ready for submission to the competition within a few days, thus avoiding a situation where the Dead Sea's candidacy is not received.
"This project is connected to all the efforts the ministry is doing on the Dead Seas," said Liberman. "The Megillot Regional Council and the council head initiated the project, and we are supporting them."
The Seven Wonders of the World competition is an international competition being held on the Internet. People from all over the world are invited to vote on the candidates. The final vote will be held in 2011, and, according to estimates, will include about a billion votes.
If the Dead Sea is chosen as a Wonder of the World, this will not only promote tourism to the region, but will also raise awareness about the bleak reality facing the body of water, which is getting smaller every year.