The Wanton Destruction of Gaza.

Abbas has the chutzpah to complain about Israel ‘damaging’ the Al-Aqsa Mosque, when in Gaza they are destroying their history.

This is just one video of what the Arab thugs have been doing to the place they claim is the third holiest place in Islam.

A statement issued by the Israeli police said that

“masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police”

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a statement from his office condemned what he called an “attack” by Israeli authorities.

“The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier’s military and police against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there” .

Stones and blocks thrown at security forces (Photo: Jerusalem Police)
Barricades set up by rioters in the mosque (Photo: Jerusalem Police)
Men sitting with their piles of rocks ‘ready for action’ to defend their holy site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque,  from the evil ‘occupiers’

How Mahmoud Abbas has the chutzpah/audacity to condemn the above, yet can ignore what is happening in Gaza regarding the destruction of its ancient historical sites is beyond me.

Gaza has a very long and interesting history dating back some 4,000 years. Gaza has been ruled, destroyed and repopulated by various dynasties, empires, and peoples. Originally a Canaanite settlement, it came under the control of the ancient Egyptians for roughly 350 years before being conquered and becoming one of the Philistines’ principal cities. Gaza fell to the Israelites in about 1000 BCE and later became part of the Assyrian Empire.

Palestinian amateur archaeologist Waleed Al-Aqqad touches a clay jar from his collection of ancient artifacts at his house, which he was turned into a museum, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip April 3, 2011. (photo by REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

All in all Gaza has a very interesting history and well worth reading about it. If archaeological sites in Gaza could talk, they would scream for help against the desecration to which they are being subjected by human hands. Some are being demolished, and new homes are built in their place.  Others are being looted or neglected.

The Muslim and Christian archaeological sites in Palestine are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years old.  According to Palestinian historian Nasser al-Yafawi, however, they are being continuously desecrated in several ways: construction occurs on top of them, the government neglects them, or looted by thieves and antiquities traders in Gaza.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Yafawi said that most of Gaza’s ruins are being looted by pirates or demolished in broad daylight to build houses on top of. He said that there is general ignorance about the cultural value of the ruins, and government employees tasked with protecting the ruins are not qualified to do so.

One of the most important archaeological sites being continuously damaged is Barquq Fort in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. It is considered the fifth most important Islamic site in Palestine.

“Barquq is the first facility established by the Mamluks to consecrate their rule in the land of Palestine. It was founded by Prince Yunus bin Abdullah al-Daoudar al-Nourzi in the era of the Mamluk Sultan Barquq in 1387 and intended to be a point of convergence for traders crossing between Egypt and the Levant, in addition to being a military garrison,” said Yafawi.

He showed that encroachments by citizens have left only 10% of the fort intact. The fort occupies an area of ​​16 dunams (14,5 square kilometers or 9 square miles ). He said people built their homes on large parts of the fort without being stopped by previous Gaza governments.

In addition, many shops, garages and random stalls have recently been set up on the remaining parts of the fort’s walls.

The president of the Al-Qala Heritage Association, Mohammed al-Farra, called for government intervention to stop the encroachments by citizens on the fort and warned that there is a real danger that the site may cease to exist.

“Encroachment of housing construction on the fort started with World War I and continued when Egypt governed the sector, passing through the Israeli occupation, then with the rule of the Palestinian Authority and now after Hamas took over Gaza,” Farra told Al-Monitor.

A view of the caravanserai at Khan Younis, Gaza, which dates back to medieval times, December 2012. (photo by Deia Alagha)

 The Gaza Strip, which was a bridge linking the Levant and Egypt, has been home to many ancient civilizations. Besides the archaeological sites mentioned above, Gaza also has the oldest port in the Middle East. The ancient port of Anthedon goes back to the Assyrian, Roman and Greek eras from 1200 B.C. to A.D. 324. It is located approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) northwest of Gaza City and covers an area of ​​about 180 dunams (167,000 square meters or 104 square miles).This unique site, parts of which are buried, is being used for military training by the Al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas, which controls Gaza — thus exposing the site to Israeli bombing.

“This port contains ancient Roman ruins, including temples, statues, pieces of pottery, wonderful mosaics and old columns. Part of it was destroyed and cleared to establish the military training site,” Yafawi said.

He noted that many of those interested in Gaza’s ruins and complained about these actions were arrested.

The Anthedon, Gaza’s ancient port, dates back to the eighth century B.C.,

According to Khalla, the Anthedon site was subject to numerous attacks since its discovery in 1996. It remained vulnerable to looting by antiquities traders over the years.

Khalla admitted that his ministry had granted a permit for the site to be used as training grounds because there was a lack of vacant land, but on condition that the site would not damaged and would be vacated in case the ministry wished to excavate it.

Although the training grounds are within the old port, which makes it vulnerable to Israeli shelling,

“it will not affect the condition of the ruins present there if the site is bombed,” Khalla said.

We hear that the Hamas-run government in Gaza has partially bulldozed the Anthedon harbour,  a UNESCO world heritage site, despite the fact that the Anthedon contains rich mosaics and other archaeological treasures dating back to antiquity. Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela justified this archaeological crime by stating,

“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly used without harming it at all.”

According to UNESCO,

“Anthedon is the first known seaport of Gaza, mentioned in Islamic literature with the names of Tida…The city was inhabited from 800 BCE to 1100 CE…The acropolis of Anthedon shows archaeological remains dated from the late Iron Age II, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods….The excavated site is about 20 dunam [5 acres] and consists of a 65-meter [213-foot] long mud-brick wall, formerly of the old commercial city center, which was part of the eastern extension of the harbor, and other earthen works…”

“Due to rising population in the region, the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land. This is why the ministry has agreed with the different responsible parties on using a limited part of the location temporarily in a way that won’t harm the underground monuments there in any way,”

the statement from Ministry of Tourism said and told Al-Monitor that the location was taken for military use and not demographic purposes.

“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly used without harming it at all,”

Khela explained.

The main problem with the location, Khela said, was that his government doesn’t have enough funds for excavation, which is why it was covered with sand for protection. Khela shifted responsibility onto the shoulders of UNESCO.

“If the location was excavated already, I don’t think it would have been possible for anyone to take it over,” Khela explained, adding that “it should be UNESCO and other donating groups’ job to do so.”

However, Ejla from UNESCO refuted this assertion, stressing that his agency is not a donor and cannot grant financial support to such projects.

“We are an organization that receives funds itself so we can hold our services up, but we can’t fund anyone,”

he noted.

The damage to the ancient site has also drawn the attention of local activists, with Gaza-based human rights researcher Mustafa Ibrahim appealing on his Facebook account to Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh to “rescue” the site.

“What happened at the ancient Harbor of Gaza is a serious harm to Palestinian culture and history,”

said Ibrahim.

Shows what little knowledge or caring for history they have in Gaza.

Last year a Gazan fisherman diving for fish, discovered a life-sized 500kg bronze statue and with help of friends managed to get it ashore and carried it home on a donkey cart, unaware of the significance of his catch.. The rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo which had been lost for centuries had been found, only for it to be seized by police and it has vanished.

Not before the statue briefly appeared on eBay with a $500,000  price tag – well below its true value. Hamas Police said they would investigate.

Archaeologists have been frustrated by the fact they have been unable to see the statue and had to be content with photos.

From what they can tell it was cast sometime between the 5th and the 1st century BC, making it at least 2,000 years old.

“It’s unique. In some ways I would say it is priceless. It’s like people asking what is the (value) of the painting La Gioconda (the Mona Lisa) in the Louvre museum,”

said Jean-Michel de Tarragon, a historian with the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.

“It’s very, very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal,”

he told Reuters television.

“I felt it was something gifted to me by God,”the fisherman  told Reuters.

“My financial situation is very difficult and I am waiting for my reward.”

 His mother was was not happy when she saw the naked Apollo carried into the house, demanding that his private parts be covered.

“My mother said ‘what a disaster you have brought with you’ as she looked at the huge statue”

Horrors…The fisherman said he cut off one of the fingers to take to a metals expert, thinking it might have been made of gold.  He didn’t know but one of his brothers cut off another finger for his own checks. This was melted down by a jeweller.Clearly they have no idea because at some stage this statue  appeared on Ebay, with the seller telling the buyer to come and collect it from Gaza.!!

“Regularly, I receive offers to buy antiquities from people who have managed to steal them from government-run heritage sites. Where is the government protecting Palestinian heritage?” Ejla from UNESCO exclaimed.Besides looting, the excavation of new sites is, according to Ejla, often done in an unprofessional manner, which unintentionally damages parts of the sites.

“I think that the authorities should invest more in their ability to take care of the monuments in Gaza. Heritage is something that can’t be lost.”

Clearly they don’t care, given how little they care about their 3rd holiest site.

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