Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Conflict over Second Temple-era archaeology at West Bank site

POLITICS AND ARCHAEOLOGY: By end of 2016 allocation of Tel Rumeida archeological park to the Jewish settlement in Hebron to be reversed (Uri Shapira, i24NEWS).
Tension in the area increased after the release of a video showing an IDF soldier apparently shooting an unarmed, incapacitated Palestinian assailant. But as the dispute in Hebron continues, shadows from the past rise up.

Recently archaeologists from Ariel University, also located in the West Bank, have found new exciting artifacts dated to the second Biblical Jewish temple.

Dr David Ben Shlomo from the university who is running the excavations, explains that the vessels from the Second Temple period were destroyed in 68 AD by the Romans, but have now been reconstructed.

“We can see it was a Jewish culture. First of all we have this ritual bath, secondly we have stone vessels which in this period is known to indicate Jewish population," he says.

But not everyone is pleased with the new findings. Yonathan Mizrahi from the left wing Emek Shaveh archaeologist organization opposes the excavations, saying it is a political tool of Jewish settlers who use it to fortify their hold on this disputed area "You cannot say you are just doing scientific work in a conflict area when you are a part of it. You are a university in a conflict area, your activity is in a conflict area, you are unwelcome there, the narrative is definitely one sided, I encourage Dr Ben Shlomo to go inside Israel and to excavate there," says Mizrahi.