Israeli occupation forces stole a historical baptismal font dating back to the 6th century from the city of Bethlehem last night.
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stole an ancient Christian artifact from Tuqu town near Bethlehem.
Tuqu mayor Tayseer Abu Mufreh said that the stolen object is a big baptismal font dating back to the 6th century AD.
Last night, Israel stole a historic Baptismal font, estimated to be 1600 years old, from the town of Tuqu near Bethlehem http://english.pnn.ps/?p=38850
Publiée par PNNEnglish sur Mardi 21 juillet 2020
Abu Mufreh added that the IOF stormed his house near the municipality headquarters, detained all members of his family and stole the font, which he was keeping temporarily near the house as a prelude to transferring it to a museum.
From her part Dr. Hanan Ashrawi head of PLO department of pulic diplomacy & policy said that the Israeli theft of historical baptismal font is an act of colonial plunder.
“Israel’s theft of a baptismal font dating back to the Byzantine era from Bethlehem overnight is an abominable act of thuggery and cultural appropriation.
Ashrawi added in a statmaent :”A hallmark of Israel’s system of colonial occupation and oppression has been its disdainful attempts to erase Palestinian presence, culture and heritage, including the illegal appropriation and theft of heritage sites and artifacts. This systemic policy of plunder is a war crime that must not go unpunished”.
In the past weeks, Israel has taken other illegal steps targeting Palestinian heritage sites, including sealing off the entrance of Jabal Al-Fureidis (or so-called Herodium) in the Bethlehem District to restrict the access of Palestinians to the site, which Israel has illegally appropriated as an “Israeli National Park”.
Israel has also repeatedly targeted other historical and archaeological sites, including UNESCO Heritage sites in Palestine such as the Old City of Jerusalem, the Battir terraces in Bethlehem, and the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron.
Israel must be held accountable for its egregious war on Palestinian heritage and its attempt to appropriate our history and pillage historical artifacts that are an integral part of Palestinian and world history.
UNESCO and its Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, have a moral and official duty to speak out and protect Palestinian heritage. Their continued silence in this regard is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility.” Ashrawi said.
Ministry of Tourism: The theft of an archaeological landmark is a violation and a crime against Palestinian heritage and history
For its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a statement denounced the theft, saying that the occupation authorities intensified in the last period of the antiquities theft operations in Palestine in front of the world, and that it defied all the international decisions and agreements that prevent the theft of antiquities.
The Ministry stressed that the theft of this archaeological landmark, which was under the custody of the municipality of Tuqu ‘in the governorate of Bethlehem and from an area under Palestinian control is a serious violation and a crime against the heritage of Palestine, which is part of the cultural identity of the Palestinian people and therefore the ministry will expose the occupation practices of international institutions, including UNESCO And through these organizations, Israel will demand the immediate return of this milestone to the ministry.
The ministry also appealed to all international partners and institutions working in the heritage to compel Israel to stop its attacks and plunder of Palestinian heritage as a protected human heritage.