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Archaeologists condemn Israel's theft of Byzantine baptismal font

Palestinian security forces stand guard on the roof of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem's Manger Square during the arrival of the participants in the sixth conference of Fatah movement in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 5 August, 2009 [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 5 August, 2009 [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

The General Union of Arab Archaeologists has condemned Israel's theft of a Byzantine-era baptismal font in Bethlehem, Quds Net reported on Wednesday. The union described the theft as a "war crime" which must not go unpunished.

"The theft of this ancient font is part of Israel's policy of terrorism, piracy and looting," said the union's coordinator in Palestine, Azmi Al-Shoyookhi. "The Israeli occupation state carries out systematic measures to hide the Arab and Palestinian identity of every inch of Palestine, including the removal and theft of archaeological and historic artefacts."

Such crimes, he added, have been carried out since the start of Israel's occupation of the Arab land of Palestine.

The union official called on the international community and UNESCO to protect Palestinian archaeological sites and heritage from the systematic looting of the Israeli occupation.

READ: Israel orders Palestinians to demolish homes for 'archaeological' purposes 

International OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUNESCO
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