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Op-ed in PA daily claims Israeli government forges archaeological findings to invent a Jewish connection to “historical Palestine,” including forging the bible

Excerpt of op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: "Netanyahu's papyrus scandal"
      "[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his extremist government are in a race against time to prove any connection of the Jews to historical Palestine, whether by forgery, fraud, or bullying. Their situation has become more grave and miserable after UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) passed two important resolutions in the last two weeks, in which it denied any connection between Judaism and the Islamic sites in the capital, East Jerusalem, and especially to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall). This caused the ones who forged the bible (the Old Testament) [parentheses in source] themselves [and violated] obligations, to turn to an act of forgery that is clear to all, to which Jewish professors responded even before the Palestinians and Arabs.
Last Wednesday [Oct. 26, 2016] Israeli archaeologists - who have no connection to archaeology - claimed that they discovered a papyrus parchment on which there was Hebrew script from the 7th century BCE. The most extremist prime minister in the history of Israel said that 'The papyrus is a type of certificate written in ancient Hebrew, and it constitutes a message from the past to UNESCO that clarifies in Hebrew our connection to Jerusalem and the central position of Jerusalem.' Those who presented this papyrus said that the most ancient mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew appears on it (sic., the papyrus is the earliest non-Biblical source).
In response to this forgery and the clearly false claim Prof. Aren Maeir, an archaeologist at Bar Ilan University, held a press conference two days ago [Oct. 29, 2016] titled Innovations in the Archaeology of Jerusalem, which was broadcast on Israeli Channel 10. He cast doubt on the source of the papyrus parchment that was found, and emphasized that it was known in advance that it was 'controversial' and a forgery (sic., Prof. Maier did not state that it was a forgery, he said it was possible and that additional testing was necessary), and does not serve the Zionist narrative in any way… Prof. Maeir emphasized that ‘The methods by which the Israel Antiquities Authority tested the papyrus parchment were not sufficient,’ and he added that he ‘knows of previous examples in which the writing was forged.' Therefore, he called to be careful regarding this papyrus parchment, and not to make assumptions and give historical analysis. Likewise, he took exception to the media celebration, especially by politicians.
Last week additional evidence was brought by Israeli, international, and Arab archaeologists who all emphasized that there are no archeological artifacts that connect historical Palestine to the Jews. The presence of members of the Jewish religion in Palestine does not mean that they 'built the Third Temple here' (sic., First and Second Temples). In addition, the Bible itself was forged dozens of times, and is no longer a source of religious authority in the strict sense of the word, such as would enable it to be relied upon as a basis for tracing the history of Arab Palestine. Nonetheless, leaders of colonialist Israel will not cease to claim [that] ‘new archeological finds’ [were discovered] – especially considering the fact that a number of years ago they removed a large rock from the walls of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and transferred it to some other place. Until now it is not known what they did with it and what they will write on it in order to prove their unfounded narrative, whose voice has been publicly exposed…
Netanyahu and the rest of his fascist racist choir must be silent and stop creating unfounded history in Palestine, they must accept the option of peace and the two-state solution in the borders of June 4, 1967, as that is what is most beneficial for them and for all the peoples of the region. There will be no benefit in continuing the game of making up history.
Therefore, it is best that Netanyahu fold up or burn the forged papyrus parchment. This is because it has no influence on the historical facts, and because historical Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people, and not of any other people, since the first man was there 10,000 years ago, in Jericho, the most ancient city in history."

On Oct. 26, 2016, the Israel Antiquties Authority revealed the finding of a papyrus parchment dated to the 7th century BCE, on which "Yerushalma", i.e, Jerusalem, is written. The Antiquities Authority stated that the find is significant as it is the earliest non-biblical source that mentions Jerusalem in Hebrew script. Archaeologist Prof. Aren Maier did not say the papyrus was a forgery. He said that the tests of the papyrus were not sufficient and criticized the publication of the finding because it was controversial. He said that the parchment was authentic, but that it was not known if the writing on it was added at a later time, and that therefore additional tests were required.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) passed a resolution in Paris on “Occupied Palestine” on Oct. 13, 2016, with 24 countries voting in favor, 6 against, and 24 abstentions. The resolution was later approved by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee on Oct. 26, 2016, in a secret ballot in which ten countries voted in favor of the resolution, two opposed, eight abstained, and one country, Jamaica, was absent.
In the resolution UNESCO refers to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, only as “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and presents it only as a “Muslim holy site.” The resolution condemns “escalating Israeli aggressions” and Israeli “violations” at the site, and calls on Israel “to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif… as a Muslim holy site of worship.” The resolution likewise refers to the Western Wall Plaza as the “Al-Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza,’” adding quotation marks to the Jewish name for the site.
The resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.
The countries voting for the resolution were: Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Vietnam.
Those voting against it were: Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US.
Mexico later noted for the record that its position on the issue is one of abstention, although the vote count was unaffected.
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