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What peace talks? Bulldozers expand Hebron settlement for ‘archaeological park’

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   Video, Tel-Rumeida, Hebron. Jan. 5, 2014. By Youth Against Settlements.

The plundering of Palestine continues. Under the guise of archaeological digs, what the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration cynically calls “rescue evacuations,” Israel is expanding its settlement in the heart of Hebron to include the ancient site of Tel Rumeida.

Settlers initiated this new “archaeological park.” They farcically claim that it is “free of political influence” but they’re not fooling anyone. Yoni Mizrahi, an archaeologist from Emek Shaveh bluntly stated: “We cannot understand how they can dig in one of the most conflicted cities in the region and claim the dig is not political”

In an editorial, “Hebron dig: Annexation in the guise of archaeology,” Haaretz states  “The right’s political exploitation of archaeology threatens to turn the discipline into a mouthpiece for propaganda.”

The settlers depict the dig as free of any political influence. But like any project carried out in the territories in general and Hebron in particular, the dig is above all a political act. It is an expansion of the Jewish hold on the heart of the West Bank’s most explosive Palestinian city and it follows Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration of opposition to the relocation of its Jewish settlement.

In recent years the West Bank settlers have discovered the hidden benefits of archaeology. This ostensibly neutral discipline allows them to expropriate not only territory but also its historical narrative, fixing it in place from the Jewish perspective while disregarding other archaeological strata and cultures. The authorities – from the Israel Antiquities Authority to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, from the Israel Defense Forces to the Prime Minister’s Office – happily cooperate.

….. Israeli authorities have declared as archaeological sites places that have served the Palestinian residents for years.

The political use of finds is not new to Israeli archaeology, which to a great extent owes its beginnings to the need for physical proof of the Jewish claim to the land. But over the years, with the strengthening of the state, archaeology has shed its political dictates and become more professional.

The right’s political exploitation of archaeology not only jeopardizes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but also threatens to turn the discipline itself from a scientific tool into a mouthpiece for propaganda.

The excavations began last Sunday. The video above was recorded by Youth Against Settlements and downloaded on YouTube the same day. Titled “new settlements in Hebron” and the location is Tel-Rumieda. See the soldiers arresting and dragging people away, with settlers ready and waiting.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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8 Responses

  1. seafoid
    January 10, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Hebron is so pointless. It’s like iron age Judaism.

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 10, 2014, 4:04 pm

      It’s also like Iron Age Christianity!*

      * SEE: “A Serial Obstructionist”, By Rachel Tabachnick, ZEEK – Forward, 3/15/10

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Shortly after Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel, Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat were the headliners at Pastor John Hagee’s two-hour Christians United for Israel (CUFI) extravaganza at the Jerusalem Convention Center. . .
      . . . Monday’s CUFI production was based on the concept of “biblical Zionism,” or the belief that God mandates nonnegotiable borders of Israel, and any leader or nation who thwarts this divine plan will be cursed. Before introducing Netanyahu, Hagee stated, “World leaders do not have the authority to tell Israel and the Jewish people what they can and can not do in Jerusalem.” He added, “Israel does not exist because of a decree of the United Nations in 1948. Israel exists because of a covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. . . The settlements are not the problem.”
      In his books and sermons Hagee has promoted a “greater Israel,” that will reclaim all of Israel’s former biblical territory, stating “In modern terms, Israel rightfully owns all of present-day Israel, all of Lebanon, half of Syria, two-thirds of Jordan, all of Iraq, and the northern portion of Saudi Arabia.”
      At the Jerusalem CUFI event Hagee described Ahmadinejad as the Hitler of the Middle East who could turn the world upside down in 24 hours, words similar to those he made when lobbying for the attack on Iraq. . .
      . . . During a performance by singer Dudu Fisher, the God TV camera panned to the audience and centered on Joel Bell, leader of Worldwide Biblical Zionists. WBZ is currently building a center in Sha’ar Benjamin for “facilitating absorption” of Christian Zionists into the West Bank. It was established after a joint meeting held in Texas of the Board of Governors of World Likud led by Danny Danon, and World Evangelical Zionists led by Joel Bell. Speakers included ZOA’s Morton Klein. . .


  2. Kathleen
    January 10, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Art Gish spent winter after winter in Hebron with the Palestinians. He feared the situation was only getting worse. Back in 2003 Art standing in front of an Israeli tank to protect Palestinians and their goods
    “I continued to feel helpless, but I also felt I had to do something. I started carrying boxes of produce out of the way of the bulldozers. I saved maybe 12 crates of produce from being crushed.

    I began confronting soldiers. In a loud voice, I asked them if they were proud of what they were doing, if this is peace, if this is what they want Israel to become. I shouted, “Baruch hashem Adonai” (Blessed be the name of the Lord).

    The soldiers tried their best to ignore me, but I am sure they heard me. I ignored their commands for me to leave. One soldier spit at me, so I walked right up to him and invited him to spit on me. He declined the offer.

    Three soldiers aimed their guns at and moved toward a group of Palestinian bystanders. It looked to me like they were going to shoot. I quickly jumped in front of the soldiers, raised my hands in the air and shouted, “Shoot me, shoot me, go ahead and shoot me.” The soldiers immediately left.

    A tank came roaring toward me, its big gun barrel aimed at me. I raised my hands in the air in prayer, and shouted, “Shoot, shoot, Baruch hashem adonai.” The tank stopped within inches of me.

    I then knelt in the street in prayer, with my hands raised. I felt alone, weak, helpless. I could only cry out to God.

    Later this afternoon I went back to Al Manara and watched shop owners dig through the huge piles of rubble, trying to salvage what they could. What could I say?

    The Israeli military had put all of Hebron under total curfew today, saying they were looking for terrorists. Now I wonder if there really were terrorists hidden among the apples and oranges. Or, are the Israeli soldiers committing acts of terrorism against the civilian population of Hebron?

    I fear for what may come next.”

  3. Blownaway
    January 10, 2014, 11:55 pm

    Israel has achieved lots in this latest round of peace talks. They have managed to teach yet another American administration the petals of trying to achieve peace. We have moved on from starting talks to talks to framework to agreeing to continue to talk. Meanwhile Israel acts to destroy any hope of Palestine daily. They also learned that if you announce new settlements after Kerry leaves the have less to ignore. These talks have been very productive indeed

  4. MHughes976
    January 11, 2014, 12:29 pm

    ‘The petals of trying to achieve peace’ – Kerry does have that faded look sometimes.

  5. Egbert
    January 11, 2014, 3:41 pm

    This reminds me of the 1930’s

    “In 1935, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo and the SS, founded an elite Nazi research institute called the Ahnenerbe. Its name came from a rather obscure German word, Ahnenerbe (pronounced AH-nen-AIR-buh), meaning “something inherited from the forefathers.” The official mission of the Ahnenerbe was to unearth new evidence of the accomplishments and deeds of Germanic ancestors “using exact scientific methods.”

    In reality, the Ahnenerbe was in the business of mythmaking. Its prominent researchers devoted themselves to distorting the truth and churning out carefully tailored evidence to support the ideas of Adolf Hitler, who believed that only the Aryans–a fictional “Nordic” race of tall, flaxen-haired men and women from northern Europe–possessed the genius needed to create civilization. “

  6. Citizen
    January 13, 2014, 8:53 am

    What peace talks?
    Here’s an excellent analysis regarding the factors and key players impacting whether or not Obama will decide to really press for an I-P peace while still POTUS:

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