Alwaght- Israeli archaeologists have recently unveiled a piece of an ancient papyrus that allegedly contains the earliest extra-biblical Hebrew reference to al-Quds (Jerusalem). The Israeli government has capitalized on this alleged discovery—which suspiciously and conveniently surfaced after an UNESCO resolution—to present as ‘evidence’ of Jewish connection to the holy city of al-Quds.
The small piece of papyrus, dated by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the 7th century B.C., was presented at a news conference in occupied al-Quds not long after Paris-based UNESCO adopted a resolution that the Israelis bashed as a denial of Judaism's link to the ancient city.
The resolution, refers to a compound in al-Quds - revered by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) - only as a "Muslim holy site of worship". The site does not contain any visible signs of the presence of the Temple Mount but Jews regularly storm and desecrate one of the holiest sites in Islam.
Earlier this month, Israelis lashed out at UNESCO for renewing a resolution that condemned Tel Aviv over restrictions imposed to deny Muslims worshippers access to the site.
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, accused the Israelis of waging a campaign of "archaeological claims and distortion of facts" to try to cement its claim to Jerusalem as its capital.
However, experts are warning that the papyrus, or scroll, may not be authentic.
According to professors cited by Israeli daily Haaretz, carbon dating of papyrus is insufficient to prove the authenticity of a historical document—meaning that it could all be a sham.
At a conference held on Thursday, archaeologist and Professor Aharon Meir cast doubt on the document's origin.
"How do we know that it isn't a fake destined for the antiquities market?" he asked, adding that carbon dating was insufficient. There are known cases of forgery that saw added print to early history material.
Archaeologist and George Washington University Professor Christopher Rollston echoed Meir’s skepticism.
Rollston blogged about the script saying that carbon dating "really means nothing," as it is a matter of buying ancient papyrus and then adding text.
"Ultimately, I believe that there is a fair chance that although the papyrus itself is ancient the ink letters are actually modern…that is, this inscription is something that I would classify as a possible modern forgery," Rollston concluded.
In addition, a Palestinian expert said the artifact is fake.
Dr. Jamal Amr, the head of the manuscripts and heritage department at al-Aqsa Mosque, stated that this is not the first time that Israelis have forged archaeological findings, mentioning a fake scepter of King David.
He also believes that the papyrus was hastily faked as a reaction to the UNESCO resolution.
Why would the Israelis go to such lengths to prove that Jews inhabited Jerusalem some centuries ago?
Well, because they believe if they prove they were there first, even if it were thousands of years ago, it would legitimize their occupation of Palestine and all their troubles would dissipate. They would get many organizations off their back as they think it might erase their bloody record.
Claiming territory would seem easier. Writing their name on everything would magically make it their own.
But one cannot simply erase the history of a place. The Israelis have no regard for the civilizations that came after, for the people who inhabited the land because they maintain a conquest mentality.
In 1948, they marched into Palestine and stole the land. Their argument? “A land without a people, for a people without a land.” However, this land was already the home of Palestinians.
Also, it was “the promised land.” So, apparently, that was another contention solely based on ethnocentric interests.
They make their case by saying their ancestors were the first to inhabit the land, thereby giving them legal right to inherit it even if that means ransacking it from the people who were most recently there. This logic is illogical, not to mention the havoc it can cause around the world should it be adopted by others. If every ethnicity or religion demanded to be in control of the lands their ancestors inhabited, we would face more wars, and the world would be even more divided. And what about those who don’t have papyrus to “prove” where they came from? Can the world afford an international model of the Palestinian exodus of 1948?
Yet, the Israelis are still allowed to practice this logic, regardless of its consequences.
On a few occasions, the Israeli regime is chastised on a meagre level. However, the latest UNESCO resolution was sufficient to stir Israeli anger, perhaps enough to forge a papyrus manuscript.
Conveniently, the papyrus was revealed shortly after the decision. Israeli media and politicians were quick to present it as proof of the Judaity of al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Experts’ doubt, however, not only point out to the likelihood that this so-called evidence is fake but also to the ascertained fakeness of the Israelis’ case in their occupation of modern-day Palestine.