Palestinian Authority workers recently built a road through sections of the ruins of the ancient city of Sebastia.
The Samaria National Park, in which Sebastia is located, has been the site of several acts of nationalistic vandalism over the years. However, recent events have been even more severe.
At the beginning of the week, members of an organization called Protecting Eternity (“Shomrim Al Hanetzach”) along with members of the Samaria Regional Council discovered that the P.A. had brought heavy machinery into the archaeological site and paved a road through it. The roadwork destroyed a wall from the Herodian period and exposed burial caves from the Second Temple Period.
The investigators also found that someone had thrown pig carcasses into the tombs in order to defile them and apparently to prevent Israeli archaeologists from entering.
Earlier today, Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu and Environmental Minister Idit Silman toured the site with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan.
“The Palestinian Authority is working systematically to destroy the archaeological remains that testify to the deep and historical connection of the people of Israel to their country,” said Ministers Silman and Eliyahu in a statement and called for a permanent military presence to guard the site.
The Samaria Regional Council head also cited the destruction as an attempt to hide the Jewish people’s ancient history in Israel.
“This is an attempt to systematically and decisively destroy any connection between the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and one of our most important cultural and historic sites,” Dagan said. “It’s a disgrace that Jewish history is being destroyed in such a manner, and under the very noses of the Israeli government."
Preserving Eternity director Moshe Gutman went as far as to say the Jewish people are “losing ancient Samaria.”
“The destruction is intensifying as the months go by with no real response, with no one being arrested for what is being done. The government of Israel must respond immediately and strongly just as it would have responded if a bulldozer entered the Caesarea National Park or if Iran had erased Mordechai and Esther’s tomb. Don’t be silent!” Gutman said.
Caesarea, located on the Mediterranean Sea, is one of Israel’s most-visited national parks. The PA has recently been reported building in the area, destroying additional archaeological remains in the process.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.