By Michael Freund, JPost—
If anyone still has doubts about the Palestinian Authority’s determination to erase all traces of Israel’s ancient Jewish heritage, an important new report should lay to rest any such uncertainties.
The 65-page document, entitled “National Heritage Survey” and published by the Shilo Forum and the Shomrim al HaNetzach (“Preserving the Eternal”) organization, examined a selection of 365 of the most important national and cultural Jewish archaeological and historical sites in Judea and Samaria.
The findings are nothing less than shocking and infuriating and require immediate attention from Israel’s government.
Simply put, hundreds of cherished Jewish sites in the Land of Israel which survived 2,000 years of Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, Mameluke and Ottoman occupation are being systematically destroyed right under our noses by the Palestinians.
The report, which has not received the widespread attention it deserves in the Israeli and international press, found that 289 sites, representing a whopping 80% of those surveyed, have been damaged or destroyed.
These include sites dating back to biblical times, as well as those from the Second Temple, Herodian and Hasmonean periods.
Consider the following examples:
Outside of Jericho, in an area under Israeli control, is the second largest ancient Jewish burial ground in all of Israel. Dating back to the Second Temple period, it is spread out over an enormous area adjacent to a Hasmonean palace and contains a vast complex of dozens of burial caves which were used for two centuries and where an estimated 100,000 Jews were buried.
For years, grave robbers and other hoodlums have been damaging and demolishing the burial grounds, leaving the graves of our ancestors desecrated and their bones scattered about.
And yet, as Channel 12 news reported on September 9, the ongoing vandalism of the site continues apace with little or no effort being made by Israeli authorities to stop it.
Another major site under Palestinian assault is Tel Aroma in Samaria, where a spectacular Hasmonean palace stood, one of eight that was established by the dynasty to defend Israel’s eastern boundary.
Exploiting the coronavirus lockdowns over the past year, the Palestinian Authority seized control over Tel Aroma and brought in heavy engineering equipment to pave a road over parts of the ruins, thereby causing inestimable damage. Adding insult to injury, they then had the gall to hold a formal ceremony and declare the palace, which was built by the descendants of the Maccabees, to be a “Palestinian Heritage Site.”
Indeed, it appears that the guiding hand behind much of the wanton destruction of Jewish historical and religious sites is none other than the regime of Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Continue Reading….