Sunday 12 October 2014

Gaza: Israeli Soldiers Reportedly Looted Private Museum

The state in which parts of Khan Janis
were left after sustained air strikes by
their Israeli neighbours.
In Gaza, a collector reports how Israeli soldiers allegedly invaded his private museum near Khan Janis, destroying and stealing antiquities (Mohammed Othman, 'Israeli war destroyed Gaza antiquities', Palestine Pulse, October 3 2014)
Gaza resident Jamal Abu Alian, 50, spent most of his life exploring and buying antiquities, filling a large part of his home with precious and rare pieces. The small museum in al-Zanna village, bordering Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, represented the fruits of Abu Alian’s antiquity collection for over 32 years. He collected around 5,000 antiquities dating back to the Bronze, Stone, Roman, Byzantine and Modern ages. Abu Alian told Al-Monitor that after the Israeli occupation declared al-Zanna a closed military region and forced its residents to evacuate the area, Israeli soldiers invaded his home and private museum, destroying and stealing antiquities. “They completely destroyed around 70% of the collection, partially destroyed 20% and stole 10% — the rarest and most valuable pieces in my museum, including three statues,” he said. With great regret, Abu Alian said that his passion and devotion for collecting antiquities was destroyed by the occupation forces. He asked for help from international and Arab institutions, as well as the Palestinian government, to preserve what he has left and retrieve what was stolen. 
What about the problem that items like this are exported from Israel on a daily basis to collectors who are grateful that one Middle Eastern country at least perfectly willing flogs off antiquities left, right and centre and issues export licences as long as they've not bee dug up in their territory? No CCPIA MOU with Israel (if ever Israel asked for one) would solve the problem of the sale of looted and stolen artefacts like this.

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