A magnificent mausoleum in which King Herod the Great, the biblical-era ruler of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, was laid to rest at the end of his 37-year reign of terror is the centrepiece of the most ambitious archeological exhibition ever mounted in Israel.The Arabs apparently are not very fond of archaeology, apparently, because the exhibit appears to have them in an uproar:
The "Palestinians", of course, tend to treat international law as loosely as they do historical fact.
The show has met with opposition from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which says Israel is in breach of international law by exhibiting artefacts excavated and removed from the West Bank.
Hamdan Taha, a PA official responsible for antiquities, said the Israel Museum had not consulted it on the excavation and exhibition. Herodium is located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control, and the site is administered by the Israeli Parks Authority.
The exhibition was an attempt to use "archaeology to justify Israel's political claims on the land", Taha said. The site, along with Jericho, was "an integral part of Palestinian cultural heritage", he added.
As the Guardian article itself points out, the excavation in question comes from an area that is recognized by the Oslo Accords as being under Israeli control. Understandably, the "Palestinians" -- who violated those accords when they asked the UN to upgrade their member status -- do not feel obligated by the agreement they signed.
Also ignored by the Arabs are the legal rights of Jews to the land established by the League of Nations -- rights that are upheld by Article 80 in the UN Charter.
In any case, the Palestinian Authority is not the only one upset:
Yonathan Mizrachi, of Emek Shaveh, an Israeli organisation that focuses on the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said international law did not permit the removal of artefacts from occupied territory. Excavated material "should be kept in the West Bank and [Palestinian] residents must have access".It is unclear why Mr. Mizrachi is frightened by the thought that archaeological finds should strengthen Jewish ties to land that is historically -- and legally -- theirs. Perhaps he prefers to wait till Abbas and the Palestinian Authority deigns to recognize the right of the Jewish State of Israel to exist, after which peace will surely come.
The exhibition, he added, would have "a major political effect on Israeli public opinion about Jewish heritage and will strengthen claims to the land".
Hat tip: AL
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