'Arabs Have Destroyed 80% Of Archeological Sites In Judea And Samaria'

By Arutz-7
Posted on 10/09/21 | News Source: Arutz-7

Jewish heritage sites in Judea and Samaria are being systematically vandalized and destroyed by local Arabs, according to a watchdog group which monitors archeological sites in the area.

Adi Shragai, operations organizer for the Shomrim Al HaNetzach organization, said in an interview with Arutz Sheva that the phenomenon of Arab vandals targeting archeological sites in Judea and Samaria has grown worse in recent years.

“Unfortunately, in the last few years we’ve received more and more reports from hikers and people in the field regarding the destruction of antiquities in Judea and Samaria, with no law enforcement. We understood immediately that something significant – and terrible – is happening here.”

The targeted destruction of archeological sites in Judea and Samaria, Shragai said, is carried out in part by Arab antiquities thieves, but also as part of illegal Arab land grabs, with unauthorized construction targeting historical sites. Arab farmers also often target archeological sites for destruction, preparing the land for agricultural work.

Unlike archeological sites inside the pre-1967 Green Line, which fall under the direct protection of the Israel Antiquities Authority, sites in Judea and Samaria are under the authority of the Staff Officer of Archeology, an office in the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria.

Due to the office’s limited resources, Shragai said, enforcement of laws protecting archeological sites in Judea and Samaria has been lax.

“The Civil Administration isn’t enforcing the laws, so our goal has been the establishment of a Judea and Samaria division of the Israel Antiquities Authority.”