Palestinians Create ‘Archaeological Park’ At Ancient Biblical And Hasmonean Fortress In Samaria


JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Palestinian attempts to gain control of Jewish archaeological sites in their territory have generally included wanton destruction at these sites. However a new Palestinian initiative to set up an “archaeological park” at the Tel Aroma site in Samaria could be an entirely new strategy to take control of the site and reconstruct its history.

In 2009 Palestinians came with tractors, damaged the historic place and stole ancient artefacts. A drone flying over the site, which is in the PA’s B territory and thus unaccessible to Jews without IDF security access, discovered recently that an ancient Herodianic wall had simply been stolen from the site.

The site, which rises to 843 meters above sea level, is situated opposite the community of Itamar. The site contains historical evidence of a Jewish presence there from biblical times, as well as a Hasmonean fortress and ten large ancient wells, which could hold an impressive amount of water within them.

Aroma is mentioned as the residence of Avimelech, son of Gidon (Shoftim 9:41). It was an important Hasmonean fortress, protecting the Hasmonean state from the Samaritans who lived north of the fortress, which was on the borders of the state.

The Shomron regional council is working to try and save Tel Aroma and a number of other sites in ancient Samaria, including Yehoshua’s altar which is in danger of being damaged by Palestinian elements.

Regional council head Yossi Dagan said that “we are witness in recent years to a new form of terror designed to harm our Jewish history in Samaria. The PA is acting to destroy all historical evidence that Samaria belonged to the people of Israel. We saw this in the destruction at the altar on Mount Eival and the seizure of Tel Aroma which is connected to the Hasmoneans according to all archaeologists. I call on the government, defense minister and cultural affairs ministers to act to preserve these important places. Tel Aroma is part of the heritage of the Jewish nation and an important link in our history and we cannot stand by when it is being systematically destroyed.”



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