Friday, 11 October 2013

Gaza's ancient ruins neglected and looted


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — If the archeological sites in Gaza could talk, they would scream for help against the desecration to which they are being subjected by human hands. Some are being demolished, and new homes are built in their place. Others are being looted or neglected.

The Muslim and Christian archeological sites in Palestine are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years old. According to Palestinian historian Nasser al-Yafawi, however, they are being continuously desecrated in several ways: construction occurs on top of them, the government neglects them, they are stolen by Israeli occupation or looted by thieves and antiquities traders in Gaza.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Yafawi said that most of Gaza’s ruins are being looted by pirates or demolished in broad daylight to build houses on top of. He said that there is general ignorance about the cultural value of the ruins, and government employees tasked with protecting the ruins are not qualified to do so.

One of the most important archaeological sites being continuously damaged is Barquq Fort in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. It is considered the fifth most important Islamic site in Palestine.

“Barquq is the first facility established by the Mamluks to consecrate their rule in the land of Palestine. It was founded by Prince Yunus bin Abdullah al-Daoudar al-Nourzi in the era of the Mamluk Sultan Barquq in 1387 and intended to be a point of convergence for traders crossing between Egypt and the Levant, in addition to being a military garrison,” said Yafawi. more

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