A group called Preserving the Eternal, which works to stop Palestinians from destroying Jewish national historical monuments, has raised concern about what looks to be a deliberate attempt to demolish a significant Samaria landmark.
El-Unuk, one of the six “Gilgal” locations that Adam Zertal, an archaeologist, identified as being associated with the Israelites’ arrival into the region after Joshua’s conquest, is located in Area B of Judea and Samaria, which is governed by Israeli security forces and Palestinian civilian rule.
It is close to Nahal Tirzah, one of the rivers that join the Jordan River as it travels from eastern Samaria to the Dead Sea.
Preserving the Eternal told Israel Hayom that the complex is currently under immediate threat of demolition due to construction being done there by the Palestinian Authority, which has already constructed a road.
Infrastructural and road construction that appeared to have been carried out in anticipation of a residential neighborhood or a commercial area recently led to the discovery of significant damage.
According to a Preserving the Eternal inspector, there is a sizable residential structure at the location.
Professor at the University of Haifa and leader of an archaeological investigation at the location, Shai Bar, issued a severe warning: “This is doing terrible damage at an important Iron Age site, which was revealed many years ago in a survey of Manasseh Hill.”
“Building on an ancient site without taking the necessary steps to preserve it is unbelievable incompetence, demonstrating a lack of governance by the authorities who are supposed to ensure that this doesn’t happen in areas under its control,” says Bar.
The development must stop immediately while the authorities try to save the artifacts from the destroyed site.
Judea and Samaria have seen a persistent and alarming trend of the indiscriminate demolition of Jewish historical monuments.
In the ideal situation, the P.A. takes over the places and adopts a Palestinian identity. In the worst-case scenario, which happens frequently, Palestinians do extensive and permanent damage.
“Building on an archaeological site means destruction, which can’t be restored or reconstructed, with the findings being lost forever,” said Adi Shragai, director of activities at Preserving the Eternal.
This location, which is among the most significant for the origins of the Jewish people, has only been surveyed; no excavation has yet taken place. Area B is allegedly under Palestinian civilian control, hence the Civilian Administration of the [Israeli Defense Ministry] has declined to operate there.
Israel has a moral and legal obligation to conserve this place since it is of national and international importance, concluded Shragai.
“The government must immediately step in and order that the European nations support the P.A. and the project; construction is stopped immediately. The P.A. is not granted the power to obliterate World Heritage sites under the Oslo Accords.
The Samaria Regional Council’s president, Yossi Dagan, stated: “The PA wants to erase Jewish history from Samaria.
Another heritage landmark is being brutally destroyed, broken, crushed, and eliminated; regrettably, there is no meaningful response. An entire country has been abandoned.