Friday, January 01, 2010

Jordan enters the DSS fray

Jordan asks Canada to seize Dead Sea scrolls

2,000-year-old Hebrew artifacts, which Jordan claims were illegally taken by Israel in 1967, are on display in Toronto

Patrick Martin

From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009 9:38PM EST Last updated on Friday, Jan. 01, 2010 1:18AM EST

Jordan has asked Canada to seize the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea scrolls, on display until Sunday at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, invoking international law in a bid to keep the artifacts out of the hands of Israel until their disputed ownership is settled.

Even if Canada ignores the request, it will make other countries think twice before accepting the controversial exhibit.

Summoning the Canadian chargé d'affaires in Amman two weeks ago, Jordan cited the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Jordan and Canada are signatories, in asking Canada to take custody of the scrolls.


While confirming that Canada has received a message from Jordan, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said yesterday that “differences regarding ownership of the Dead Sea scrolls should be addressed by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. It would not be appropriate for Canada to intervene as a third party.”

This is a new twist, one that may complicate matters, since now it is an actual state that existed at the time of the discovery disputing ownership of the Scrolls. Read it all.

For background to the exhibition and the ownership controversy raised initially by Palestinians, see here and follow the links back.

(Note: I have been asked by readers to start using post titles to make this blog easier to read in news feeds etc. I obey.)