On Tuesday, March 13, an archaeological site inspector in Hebron’s Old City discovered that the archaeological site there had been severely damaged – the diggings in progress were ruined and covered up.
A group of Arab workers, apparently contracted by the Palestinian Authority, breached an ancient terrace bordering the antique path that connects Avraham’s Well and the tombs of Ruth and Yishai. They further removed a fence near an IDF outpost. Next, they brought trash and dumped it in the archaeological diggings, which contain findings from the Canaanite period. They then set fire to the trash.
This destructive process was stopped only after the inspector called the police, the army, and the Civil Administration. Surprisingly, the vandals were not arrested and were allowed to continue with their work, receiving only a warning about further damage to the archaeological artifacts around them.
It is significant to note that this is not the first time Arabs have been engaged in the destruction of archaeological artifacts in Hebron. They have previously perpetrated similar acts of vandalism, but have recently begun to work in an organized fashion, leading to suspicions that the acts are purposeful and orchestrated by an entity bent on the erasure of archaeological artifacts that testify to the ancient Jewish roots in Hebron.
Chaim Bleicher, a resident of Hebron, told Tazpit that they have been doing their best to combat these trends. The army and Civil Administration have made no real attempts to halt these actions, and it has been reported that the army even intends to close off part of the archeological site to eliminate friction, working only to maintain the peace, even if it means the irreplaceable loss of archaeological artifacts and the cover up of Hebron’s Jewish identity.
Theses incidents in Hebron are not unique to the area. Similar incidents have been recorded throughout Israel, especially in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. The Arabs are aware that the archaeological findings point to an ancient and prolonged Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and therefore do all they can to destroy these artifacts, doing their best to cover up the simple fact that the Jews have deep roots in the Land of Israel.