Friday, April 10, 2009

Palestinians claim the Dead Sea Scrolls

I knew the Palestinians claimed a lot of things, but I didn't know that the Palestinians claim the Dead Sea Scrolls as their own, simply by reason of the place in which they were discovered.

But the "moderate" prime minister of the Palestinians is protesting a Canadian museum's display of the scrolls.

Beginning in June, the ROM will host a six-month exhibit of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls, organized in co-operation with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

But top Palestinian officials this week declared the exhibit a violation of international law and called on Canada to cancel the show.

In letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and top executives at the ROM, senior Palestinian officials argue the scrolls – widely regarded as among the great archaeological discoveries of the 20th century – were acquired illegally by Israel when the Jewish state annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.

"The exhibition would entail exhibiting or displaying artifacts removed from the Palestinian territories," said Hamdan Taha, director-general of the archaeological department in the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

They're our books, written by Jews. What do the Palestinians want them for, other than their constant I-me-mine meme.
The scrolls were discovered in 11 caves on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, mostly between 1947 and 1956, and their ownership has long been a matter of fierce dispute between Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

[...] Written mostly on parchment and partly on papyrus, the scrolls number about 900 manuscripts in all and mouldered undisturbed for roughly 20 centuries until their accidental discovery in 1947 by a young Bedouin Arab.


The caves containing the scrolls were located near Qumran, in what is now the Palestinian West Bank.

Beginning in 1947, and for nearly a decade, experts from the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, and the École biblique et archéologique française excavated the caves and salvaged the scrolls, only a few of which were found whole. The rest were scattered into thousands of fragments.

Written mainly in Hebrew, and partly in Aramaic and Greek, the scrolls include about 200 copies of portions of the Jewish Bible.

At first, the scrolls were housed in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, which was under Jordanian control at the time.

So, basically, the Jordanians, in partnership with the French and Americans, took precious Jewish artifacts away from the Jews to whom they belong. I do believe that Egypt just got back an ancient mummy from a museum in America, and I also believe that museums all over the world are negotiating the return of artifacts taken during the days of colonialism. So the Palestinians can just STFU, because those scrolls don't belong to the people who were on the land at the time of the discovery. They belong to the people who wrote the scrolls.

That being said, expect many protests. Canada is full of Israel-haters.