Thursday, November 17, 2016

  • Thursday, November 17, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
The world has been horrified by the Islamic State's purposeful destruction of ancient heritage sites. UNESCO has had a number of sessions on the topic and the UN passed a resolution 69/281 to save Iraq's cultural heritage.

They invoke the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict as a primary means to save these cultural heritage sites.

But there is another group that is actively attempting to destroy ancient heritage sites, and the world has little to say about them.

On Friday, for example:

Fires severely damaged two ancient tombs, one of them an iconic landmark, outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, in what police suspect may have been arson.

An initial investigation by firefighters points to unknown persons setting fire to Absalom’s Tomb in the Kidron Valley, opposite the Temple Mount, and the adjacent Tomb of Jehoshephat, Ynet reported.

The tombs are among a cluster of ancient graves at the base of the Mount of Olives dating to the Second Temple period.

Absalom’s Tomb is traditionally identified as a monument to the biblical figure of the same name, but archaeologists have dated the edifice to the 1st century CE.

The fires broke out around 4:15 p.m. on Friday and caused extensive damage to the 2,000-year-old structures.
Both of these structures are centuries older than anything that ISIS targeted.

But the world is silent when Palestinians attack Jewish heritage sites.

This is hardly the only example.

Palestinians have been firebombing Joseph's Tomb in Shechem for years.

Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem has been attacked by Palestinian mobs a number of times, forcing Israel to build huge fortifications to protect the holy site.

The ancient Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho was torched by Palestinian mobs in 2000.

Gravestones at the Mount of Olives, some hundreds of years old, are routinely attacked.

Of course, the biggest crime against Jewish heritage occurred when the Waqf methodically destroyed unknown treasures from the First and Second Temple periods on the Temple Mount.

There are other lesser known crimes. As David M. Weinberg notes:
Under PA rule, Tulul Abu el Alayiq, near Wadi Qelt and Jericho, has been left to decay. This is an important archaeological site where Hasmonian kings and Herod built their winter palaces, and it contains what may be the remains of the earliest synagogue in Israel. The nearby Naaran synagogue is threatened by Palestinian real estate developers who are building practically atop the site. Israeli archaeologists who have managed to visit there say that the PA has let the place rot.
The PA has also allowed villagers to encroach upon the important synagogue remains in Eshtemoa in the southern Mt. Hebron area. Neither Israeli archaeologists nor Israeli worshippers and tourists have access to the site (which is located in Area B), despite the fact that the Oslo Accords supposedly guaranteed this.
It is important to note that these three sites are specified by name in the appendices to the Oslo Accords, and defined as historical and religious sites which the PA is supposed to preserve, and to which they are supposed to provide access for Israelis.
The PA is a signatory to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property but allows much of this destruction to go on in areas under its control.

UNESCO has attempted to protect Jewish heritage sites in danger in Iraq, along with Kurdish, Christian and Islamic sites. But it does not say a word about Palestinian destruction of Jewish sites. On the contrary - it praises the Waqf for "preservation" on the Temple Mount and condemns Israel for its careful archaeological digs that often discover and preserve Islamic cultural sites!

Palestinian destruction of Jewish antiquities may not be quite as methodical ISIS' attacks on heritage sites, but it is no less important. Yet the world ignores anything the Palestinians do, because anything that is against Israel is justified.



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