Creating new perspectives since 2009

Hundreds of archaeological sites destroyed in Tel Aviv war on Gaza: Israel NGO

January 22, 2024 at 8:41 pm

Archaeologists work on findings as a lead sarcophagus uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site of Roman necropolis in the north of Gaza Strip, the second such discovery this year on July 16, 2023 [Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of historical and archaeological sites and artefacts have been destroyed in Israel’s deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip, an Israeli group said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We call on the government of Israel to take all possible measures to fulfil its obligations in accordance with international law and to protect cultural heritage sites and cultural properties in Gaza,” Emek Shaveh organisation said in a statement.

We remind all parties that using cultural sites for military purposes can be considered a war crime under international law

Gaza contains hundreds of heritage sites, including antiquities sites, historic buildings, museums, cultural centres, archives, monuments and libraries.

The Israeli NGO cited that 60 per cent of heritage sites have suffered extensive damage or have been destroyed in the Israeli war, including key historic sites such as the Al-Omari Mosque and the Church of St. Porphyry.

The statement came after a video showed an official from Israel’s Antiquities Authority (IAA) accompanying Israeli army soldiers to examine a collection of antiquities in Gaza, and appeared to be celebrating the discovery of the site.

We wish to reiterate that the heritage sites in Gaza belong to the people of Gaza

the Israeli group said.

“However, the shocking level of devastation of heritage sites in Gaza is not only a terrible loss for the people of Gaza and the Palestinian people but for all people who live in and share this land.”

Last month, Gaza’s government media office said that more than 200 archaeological and heritage sites had been destroyed in Israeli attacks on the enclave since 7 October.

Israel launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following Hamas’s 7 October attacks, killing at least 25,295 Palestinians and injuring 63,000. Nearly 1,200 Israelis believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The Israeli offensive has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: Israel: army displays artefacts stolen from Gaza in the Knesset