Palestinians throw wild boar carcasses into graves at biblical site

Palestinians gesture during a protest against comments by French President Emmanuel Macron defending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, outside the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 30, 2020. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The ancient town of Sebastia, one of the major archaeological sites of the Holy Land which served as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel nearly three millennia ago, has been damaged by Palestinian road construction, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

The destruction at the site highlights the lawlessness in the area and the need for the preservation, upkeep and safeguarding of Israeli archaeological sites in Palestinian-controlled areas after decades of neglect, damage and disrepair.

The site, which has been repeatedly vandalized in the past, is located outside Nablus, near the Arab town of Sebastia, which carried out the work. Over the last three decades, it has fallen under conflicting Israeli and Palestinian jurisdiction as stipulated by the Oslo Accords.

The damage to the site was made public by Shomrim Al Hanetzach (Protecting Eternity), an NGO that seeks to preserve Jewish heritage sites in Judea and Samaria. It discovered that a road had been paved in the heart of the archaeological site, said Moshe Gutman, the group’s chairman.

During the construction work, a wall dating back to the Herodian times (37 BCE-73 CE) was destroyed and burial caves dating back to the Second Temple period (586 BCE-70 CE) were smashed, looted and obliterated, he said.

In addition, carcasses of wild boars were found thrown into the ancient graves.

Cultural and historic

“This is an attempt to systematically and decisively destroy any connection between the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and one of our most important cultural and historic sites,” Yossi Dagan, Samaria Regional Council head, said.

He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deut. 26:9

“These are unique remains from the period of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. It’s a disgrace that Jewish history is being destroyed in such a manner and under the very noses of the Israeli government,” he added.

Minister of Heritage Amichai Eliyahu was en route to the site on Tuesday afternoon to inspect the damage, his spokesman said.

Dagan called for the military to safeguard the site around the clock.

The incident comes less than two months after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pledged that Israel will not allow Palestinians to damage a separate archaeological site nearby that is revered by millions of Jews and Christians as the location where Joshua built an altar.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body that deals with Palestinian civilian affairs and is charged with such supervision, had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Read the entire article @ Times of Israel HERE

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