Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just the first paragraph tells you all you need to know:
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Amin al-Siyam says he is awakened nearly every night by the sound of Jewish settlers tunneling under his east Jerusalem house towards the Old City's deeply sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Settlers are digging tunnels, willy-nilly, under the Old City? Only at night? Are they building apartments to live in?

Well, later in the article, if you parse it correctly, you can see that it is the Israel Antiquities Authority who are unearthing a 2000-year old tunnel, not "settlers:"
The Silwan project has aroused similar suspicions, in part because people are not allowed to see the tunnel, but primarily because the work is being funded by the Ir David Foundation, an Israeli settler group.
Here are the aims of Ir David:
The Ir David Foundation is committed to continuing King David’s legacy and strengthening Israel’s current and historic connection to Jerusalem through four key initiatives: archaeological excavation, tourism development, residential revitalization and educational programming.
To dismiss that all into just calling it "a settler group" is more than dishonest - it reeks of bias.
Meir Margalit, a spokesman for the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions, says "the problem is not the archaeological digging, it is the agenda of the people who are behind the digging."

He and other Israeli activists fear that sensitive projects like Silwan, if left in the hands of right-wing groups, could one day be used to detonate the Middle East peace process.

"For a long time this has been a problematic issue, but now it is a dangerous issue," Margalit says.

Quoting someone from the ICAHD to talk about archaeology only proves that the main people with an agenda are those opposed to associating anything Jewish with Jerusalem. Similarly:
Yoni Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist critical of Ir David, says IAA reliance on it for funding ties them to its agenda.

"They need the money, and they are not just doing this for the benefit of archaeology," Mizrachi says. "It's one of the few sites operated by private organisations and it is the only one run by a right-wing organisation."

So to these critics, the existence of Jewish archaeological treasures are better not found at all, rather than being funded by "right wing" organizations. There's commitment to science and knowledge for you.

But perhaps the most dishonest part of this entire article is the picture used to illustrate it. Captioned "File photo shows a trench being dug as part of an archaeological dig in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound," it is simple a lie. No archaeological digs have taken place in the "Al Aqsa mosque compound" since before 1948. It in fact shows a trench that was not being dug by archaeologists but by the Wakf on the Temple Mount - with backhoes! - which destroyed untold numbers of priceless treasures. Every criticism that the article levels against the Jews digging to unearth history is refuted by that episode - the IAA didn't stop the illegal Muslim dig proving that if it has any bias it is against Jewish sensibilities; and the Temple Mount is infinitely more politically and religiously sensitive than Ir David/Silwan.

Giving money to real archaeologists to do their job seems much less problematic than having them stand by and allow the wholesale desecration of the world's most sensitive real estate.

This article shows that the AFP has no interest in truth or accuracy - it simply parrots anti-Jewish positions without any real reporting.



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