Thursday, April 9, 2009
Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit Highlights Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
A planned exhibit of one of the most significant archaeological finds in history is threatening to bring the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to Canada.
In June, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto plans an exhibit of the scrolls. But Palestinian officials are claiming that the planned exhibition violates international law and is calling on the Canadians to cancel it.
The Palestinians allege that the scrolls were illegally procured by the Israeli Antiquities Authority because they were discovered in East Jerusalem after it was annexed by the Israelis. The claim is that the scrolls were taken from Palestinian territories. Therefore, the Israeli's possession of the scrolls, it is argued, is illegal.
At issue is less who is in control of the scrolls and whether they should be exhibited. The real argument here is over who lays claim to East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians, obviously, want to make the exhibition a cause celeb to underscore their claim that East Jerusalem belongs to them, not to the Israelis.
But is this the proper forum to be making this claim? Is it right to deny the museum the opportunity to display the scrolls?
In the Middle East, even ancient history is affected by modern day politics.
We talk about issues like this and more weekdays at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com