Hamas has plowed over a 3,000-year-old harbor, designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage site, and has covered it with sand to prepare more training grounds for terrorists.
The terrorist organization explained that there is nothing wrong with plowing over history if it is good for the cause of the “resistance,” – read “terror and the end of Zionism.”
Hamas already has expertise in destroying buildings and land that can be used for the benefit of the local population.
In 2005, the Israeli government – the Sharon Chelm government – expelled 9,000 Jews from Gaza and withdrew every IDF soldier from Gaza in order to ensure that Hamas would no longer have any reason to attack Israelis. Since they never did have a reason in the first place, there was no logic in expecting Hamas to become civil. That is now history for future generations to ponder.
With the help of such saintly institutions as the World Bank, Israel agreed to leave standing the greenhouses, where Gaza Arabs earned a living, so that the Palestinian Authority could help the local agriculture blossom by using Israeli technology already in place.
Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction at that time was in the same political bed as Hamas. After the expulsion, the PA regime destroyed the greenhouses and turned them into its own kind of future heritage site where men, women and children could learn to be martyrs and be prepared for 72 virgins.
Nearly eight years have passed, and the so-called military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has now bulldozed a part of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea to expand its training zone, journalist and former human rights researcher Abeer Ayyoub wrote for Al Monitor.
Here is what UNESCO says about the Heritage site, designated as such only last year after the location was discovered in 1997, uncovering mosaic floors with historical pillars from the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ages.
“Anthedon is the first known seaport of Gaza, mentioned in Islamic literature with the names of Tida…The city was inhabited from 800 BC to 1100 AD…
“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…
“Anthedon represents a clear example among the seaports along the Eastern Mediterranean coast, demarcating the ancient trade route that linked Europe with the Levant during Phoenician, Roman, and Hellenistic periods…. The presence of massive earthen structure in the proximity of the sea as well as the rich underwater heritage, still to be explored, make Anthedon an excellent site for nomination to the World Heritage list.”
Its official designation as a Heritage site gave Hamas a wonderful opportunity to promote tourism, but things don’t work so logically in a terrorist regime.
In typical Orwellian language, the Tourism Ministry has stated it will not allow harm to monuments but that “the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land” due to the rising population.
And then there is the truth.
Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela 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 [sic] used without harming it at all,” Khela explained.
No harm will come to it – but.
Since Hamas needs money for the “resistance,” it does not have funds for excavation, so the solution of covering it with sand was really for the protection of the site.
The blame, of course, is UNESCO, according to Hamas. After all, it was the United Nations body that declared the harbor a Heritage site in the first place, and it obviously is the responsibility of the United Nations to do the preservation work so that Hamas can keep its mind on the resistance.
Hamas, like its rival Fatah faction headed by Abbas, is used to being on the world’s welfare rolls, but UNESCO explained to the Tourism Ministry it is not a funding agency.
How much does Hamas treasure its heritage?
Its own Deputy Tourism Minister answers that question. “Regularly, I receive offers to buy antiquities from people who have managed to steal them from government-run heritage 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.”
Maybe it can’t be lost, but it can be thrown away, especially considering the Palestinian Authority’s unrivaled ability to “never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity.”
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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