The PA has a history of destroying Jewish archaeological sites in an effort to erase Jewish ties to the land.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yemina party, visited Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal after news broke last week that the Palestinian Authority was destroying the ancient site.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is reportedly using stones from the site to help build a road connecting an Arab village to the city of Nablus, or Shechem. Arab workers in a video obtained by Hebrew news site N12 can be heard saying they are destroying part of Joshua’s Altar to use for gravel to make the road.
In a video he filmed at the site in English to bring attention to the issue, Bennett said, “Imagine if ISIS tried to take apart the Statue of Liberty, or the Eiffel Tower. What an uproar across the world we’d hear. Well, I’m standing here on the hills of Samaria on an ancient Jewish site, one of the most ancient Jewish sites ever discovered – 3,200 years old, on Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal.”
“On this very mountain 3,200 years ago the Jews came out of Egypt crossed, the Jordan river… came up through Nablus and met here for their last central meeting of the Jewish people before spreading out across the Land of Israel and building our national home over here,” Bennett said.
He said that an archaeologist found evidence indicating the site was the ancient Jewish altar referred to in the Bible.
Some archaeologists speculate that the site in question, known as Joshua’s Altar, or the Altar of Mount Ebal, is the one mentioned in the Book of Joshua, which he built after the battle of Ai. It is also conjectured that it is the altar the Hebrews were commanded to build in Deuteronomy 27 before they heard the blessing and the curse.
Bennett said the Palestinian destruction at the site was “unbelievable. That’s a barbaric act that we’ve only heard from ISIS and radical Islamists that want to take away ancient sites of other people,” he said.
Bennett promises in the video that, as former defense minister, “We will never let anyone touch our Jewish heritage.”
As the site is located in Area B of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Civil Administration says it can do nothing about it. However, a clandestine group of Jewish workers organized by the Samaria Regional Council fixed part of the damage done by the PA on Thursday. “The Samaria Council restored about 35 meters of the western wall of the altar compound,” Arutz 7 reports.
“It was not possible to rehabilitate the northern wall, which is about 20 meters long and was also damaged by the Palestinian Authority; such a restoration will take more time and thorough archaeological investigation,” the report said.
The PA has a history of destroying Jewish archaeological sites in an effort to erase Jewish ties to the land. It is continuing a “tradition” begun by Jordan, which destroyed Jewish sites when it controlled Judea and Samaria and part of Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.
In May, the PA took advantage of the absence of Civil Administration inspectors during the coronavirus shutdown to consolidate its takeover of “Tel Aroma,” a Hasmonean fortress in Samaria.
“The PA’s most recent project has caused unspeakable damage to the antiquities at this unique site,” Regavim, an Israeli NGO which deals with land issues, reported at the time.