The very stones of Jerusalem are political weapons in the age-old struggle for possession of the Holy Land.The BBC provides a nice, brief summary of the back-and-forth of archaeological politics in the Holy Land.
And nowhere is more sensitive than the great platform built by King Herod, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to the Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary....
When the Israelis captured the Old City from the Jordanians.... Israel allowed the Muslim religious authority known as the Waqf to administer the whole compound. But the Israelis claimed the right to enter it at will to keep security control. They enforce this claim regularly.
They do so by entering the compound through a small gate known as the Mougrabi or Moors' Gate....
The reason for the protest does not really have much to do with archaeology in fact. It is a protest about presence....At that time,
In this atmosphere, the arguments of the archaeological academics do not carry much force....
But in Jerusalem, you cannot "just dig". There, every stone counts.
'That cursed Israel is trying to destroy al-Aqsa mosque,' Mohamed el-Katatny of [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) told a heated parliament session held to discuss the Israeli digging.As Jim Davila noted, "that'll sure keep that mosque safe".
'Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence,' he said.
There's a question-and-answer article with Eilat Mazar about the dig(s) and other work(s) near the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the Jerusalem Post; further, Jim Davila has some posts pulling together events surrounding the Mugrabi Gate excavation, including protests by Iranand Palestinian protestors.
I only think to mention it now, belatedly, because, a little over a week ago, Arab Monitor noted that the "Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities calls for boycott".
In an emergency meeting of the Arab Antiquities Authority, Zahi Hawwas, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities... called for a boycott of archeological teams willing to work with Israel in carrying out the excavations currently going on in East Jerusalem....Sadly, I won't be able to discuss this situation in my work, but I think it's worth watching and thinking about.
Hawwas explained his request to the delegates in Cairo saying that "this is the only way to stop the destruction of Jerusalem’s antiquities".
Fitting well (unfortunately) with something I won't be able to address properly in my work, a couple of days ago, Sissy Danninger posted "countdown for or against start of Ilisu-dam-project" on KurdishMedia.
These days an Austrian-lead consortium of enterprises in Austria, Germany and Switzerland are anxiously waiting for the "go-ahead" by their governments to embark on the Ilisu-dam-project in South-eastern Turkey/North Kurdistan. It is just the export-guarantees, which are still missing....Hopefully, I will be able to visit south-eastern Turkey relatively soon and get done what little work I can get done there before I return to Cyprus, to inform my work in Cyprus.
The German non-governmental group WEED (World Economy, Ecology and Development), with whom Dr. Latif Rashid, the Iraqi Water Minister, has been in touch, has commissioned an updated legal opinion from three leading experts on international law (see, in English:
This opinion reaffirms that, should the ECAs (Export Credit Agencies) fund the project without Turkey having first notified, consulted and negotiated with Iraq, they would be facilitating a breach of international law.
A friend asked me if there had been any bombings in Istanbul recently and I flippantly answered, "not that I know of"... Apparently, there were bombings that I didn't know of. On the 5th of March, the Taipei Times recorded that:
Protesters threw firebombs at three buses in Istanbul on Saturday [the 3rd of March 2007], incinerating one of them and injuring a driver, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. The private Dogan news agency said a group of about 50 protesters shouted slogans in favor of the banned Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as the buses burned....[This has been moved from human rights archaeology, where I posted it accidentally.]
Two of the buses were attacked as they were moving, and the other one was stopped on the road and its passengers forced to exit before it was attacked with Molotov cocktails, the Anatolia news agency said.