Photo Credit: Ancient Shiloh.
The stone altar above may have been used for sacrificial offerings in ancient Shiloh long after the time of the Tabernacle.

( The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria—or the Disputed Territories, depending on your politics—has ruled that Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site inside the Jewish settlement of Shiloh, must be open to Palestinian visitors, Ha’aretz reported Wednesday.

The decision followed a declaration of the Supreme Planning Council of Judea and Samaria that Mateh Binyamin Regional Council construction work at the site was illegal, but it would nevertheless receive retroactive approval, which included approval for future construction plans.


However, the same panel insisted that the archaeological site must be made accessible to everyone, due to its “cultural, religious, historic and archaeological significance.”

The panel made it the duty of the military commander in the area to enforce making the site accessible.

Shiloh was an Israelite city in the tribal territory of Ephraim in southern Samaria, in the period between the settlement in Canaan and the establishment of the united kingdom of Israel. During this period, Shiloh was home to the Tabernacle and served as the nation’s center for religious rituals.

According to archaeological findings, Shiloh was destroyed some time before the coronation of King Shaul.

Now, several Jewish websites have shown that rewriting the history of the Land of Israel in order to deny Israel’s right to exist is central to Palestinian Authority policy, which aimis to erase the Jewish nation’s 3,000 year history in the Land of Israel, while at the same time inventing ancient Palestinian, Muslim and Arab histories in the land.

The website is rife with numerous examples of this relentless campaign, which began well before the first Intifada. It cites, for instance, Dr. Jamal Amar, who lectures on Urban Planning at Bir-Zeit University, and on June 23, 2009 told the PATV audience at home:

“There is a view that where it [the Dome of the Rock] stands was the Holy of Holies of the fictitious Temple – and by the way, that is merely an illusion. There is no remnant of it. It’s a myth. A story of no value, like the Arabian Nights, and other legends… Only in Palestine… [after] 60 years of digging, and they’ve found nothing at all. Not a water jug, not a coin, not any earthen vessel, no bronze weapons, no piece of metal, absolutely nothing of this myth, because it’s a myth and a lie. This digging has not left a single meter [unturned], but it has achieved absolutely nothing.”

Except that museums in Israel and abroad are practically bursting with artifacts showing the Jewish past of the Land of Israel, to which Deputy Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Salwa Hadib has a clear and logical answer: ‎‎

“An Israeli engineer and an archaeologist brought Israeli coins – ‎shekels and agoras – and threw them on the ground before the renovation [of the Al-Karmi ‎neighborhood in Jerusalem] in order to prove, after dozens and hundreds of years, that “we (i.e., the ‎Israelis) were present here.” They are stealing history and geography.”‎

So now, while retroactively approving what Ha’aretz has described as “a massive development plan for the site,” which includes “the construction of an amphitheater, a 60-room hotel, a large parking lot and commercial center and shops,” the Civil Administration, by insisting local Arabs be permitted to enjoy all these improvements, unwittingly created a dichotomy between what the visitors will see with their own eyes and what their TV tells them about the history of the land.

Yoni Mizrahi, an archaeologist with Emek Shaveh, an organization of archaeologists and community activists focusing on the role of archaeology in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Tuesday’s decision could have implications for other archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria, like the site of ancient Susya.


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