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.