The Attitudes of Palestinian Religious Scholars and Institutions toward the Looting of Palestines Archaeological Heritage
Al-Houdalieh, Salah H. A.
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Over the past several decades, Palestine’s archaeological heritage has faced serious challenges caused by the looting of antiquities. This ongoing phenomenon has resulted in the partial or total destruction of thousands of archaeological sites and features, and the extraction of hundreds of thousands of heritage objects. Despite the tremendous efforts made toward the protection of these archaeological resources, the Palestinians must redouble their endeavors and begin to create new, appropriate and practical measures in order to safeguard their homeland’s heritage. This paper focuses on the attitudes of Palestinian religious institutions and religious scholars toward the looting of archaeological material by Palestinians from heritage sites located within the Palestinian National Territories. It consists of two parts: (a) a fieldwork project carried out by the author over a significant period to examine the religious attitudes of Muslim and Christian religious institutions and their scholars toward this issue, and (b) presentation of the results in a workshop organized by the Institute of Archaeology of Al-Quds University, under the same title as this paper, held on November 21st, 2011 on the Abu Dies campus. The principle aim of this study is to inquire into the official attitudes expressed by the Palestinian religious institutions and scholars regarding this problem and then to make this information available to the public.