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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Fake "Palestinian" culture gets a boost from the Netherlands

From Ma'an:
A 5,000 year old city is the focus of a UNESCO, Nablus and Dutch government initiative seeking to boost the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage's resources and technical experience, a statement said.

A 300,000 euro donation from the Netherlands to UNESCO will support continued excavations and preservation at the Tell Balata Archaeological Site. Under the initiative, students from the University of Leiden will participate to provide technical expertise, officials said at the signing ceremony on Monday.

The Tell Balata site is listed by UNESCO in the Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in Palestine, and is located in the city of Nablus. According to experts, the area includes towers and buildings from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age dating back 5,000 years.
There is nothing objectionable about archaeological research, of course. What is curious is the reason given by the Dutch for doing this:
Dutch representative to Palestine Jack Twiss Quarles van Ufford called the initiative a step in support of caretaker Prime Minster Salam Fayyad's plan to build state institutions ahead of the declaration of a Palestinian state in 2011. "The creation of institutions can only be sustainable if it goes hand in hand with the strengthening of the cultural identity of the Palestinian people," Twiss said in a statement.
Hold on...if the "Palestinians" have been a unique people living on their land for thousands of years, why do they need outside help to strengthen their cultural identity? Do the Chinese or Greeks or Egyptians need help from Europeans to remember who they are and where they came from?

Not only that, but it Twiss seriously thinking that the residents of the region in Chalcolithic times have any cultural or historic ties to the Palestinian Arabs of today?

Deep down, Twiss and his ilk knows that "Palestinian" culture is a recent and mostly artificial phenomenon driven more by politics than anything else. But since they want another Arab state to exist so badly, they are willing to throw Dutch government money at an initiative that is apparently meant not so much to do serious scientific research but to create a fake history and culture where virtually none exists.

(And, yes, I have looked for years for examples of this ancient Palestinian Arab culture. The closest I have found have been some unique clothing styles and crafts that more reflect normal local and tribal custom than anything that could be remotely called "Palestinian." Palestinian Arab art, music and literature was virtually non-existent a century ago.)