Israeli Parliament Considers Privatizing Archaeology Sites

Posted on October 14, 2011

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Israeli archaeologists and historians are protesting a proposed bill that would privatize national parks, including Silwan, a popular Israeli archaeological park.  Advocacy groups are petitioning for parliament to vote down the bill, arguing that privatization would cater to political interests while damaging minority communities and unbiased scientific research.

The private Elad Foundation manages the Silwan site, which contains evidence of a variety of civilizations having inhabited it throughout history.  The Art Newspaper reported:

Archaeology professor Raphael Greenberg of Tel Aviv University, who dug at the site in previous years, says that there is Palestinian, Jewish and other history in the ground, and Palestinian and Jewish rights above ground, and that recognition of this by both sides is fundamental to any reconciliation. “In the meantime,” he says, “as long as Israel controls Silwan, it must restrain itself as well as those groups who would use a one-dimensional view of the past in order to further the rhetoric of disenfranchisement and displacement of Palestinians in the present.”

Archaeologists claim the Israeli Antiquities Authority is proposing the bill in order to create a formalized arrangement with the Elad Foundation for funding.  Parliament will vote on the bill in October.

Read the full article: Israeli archaeologists oppose privatisation bill.

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