Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: 'Instead of Archaelogy, You Are Talking Politics'

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - The Israel Antiquities Authority has dispatched a letter denouncing the World Archaeological Congress for excluding Israel from its congress.

The congress, which is currently meeting in Ramallah, is discussing, among other things, the excavations in Jerusalem. However, no Israeli representatives were asked to participate.

The World Archaeological Congress is presently convening archaeologists from all over the world in a conference entitled “Overcoming Structural Violence.” The congress, which is taking place in Ramallah, the biggest city of the Palestinian Authority, did not invite the Israel Antiquities Authority despite the fact that some of the topics being discussed at the conference deal with regions in Jerusalem where an archaeological excavation is being conducted exclusively by the IAA.

According to Dr. Uzi Dahari, Deputy Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “An international archaeological congress does not act this way.

“The congress came to a region where there is a conflict and chooses to present one side of the story. It is forbidden that such a thing should happen. For example, it is professionally unethical that an international archaeological forum will tour sites without the knowledge of the archaeologists who are excavating them. In addition, the congress uses the names of sites as they are referred to by one side only (e.g. the congress refers to the Temple Mount in English as Haram al Sharif). It would be best if the World Archaeological Congress would focus on archaeology and not on politics.”

The spokespeople of the World Archaeological Congress said that the Israelis were invited to participate in the event. However, the WAC could not produce the invitation that the WAC claimed to have sent to Israeli achaeologists to attend the event.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

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