HEBRON, Palestine – The Israeli Antiquity Authority continues to expropriate Palestinian land in Hebron, on the hillside of Tel Rumeida. On Sunday May 18, 2014, the IAA workforce, under the instruction of project coordinator Emmanuel Eisenberg, continued to cause structural damaged to the Abuhaikal land, deploying both questionable and illegal archeological practices, while at the same time, utilizing the Joebe family’s land without consent.
The excavations are illegal under Israeli law, according to the Oslo Agreement, which Israel signed in the mid-90’s as a process of steps jointly agreed upon by Israel and Palestine as a vehicle to peace and stability. Covered in Article 2 of the Israeli-Palestinian Intern Agreement, which describes in detail that archeological projects in Palestinian territory would be jointly administered, and considerations will be taken by both sides. This has not been the case.
As previously reported, the IAA had verbally agreed to halt the archeological excavations on the land bordering the Abuhaikal plot until the borders of the property were properly demarcated. Despite the agreement, the IAA illegal activities continued onto the Abuhaikal’s property, eventually undermining a retaining wall, causing it to collapse and exposing the roots of a centuries old olive tree to the elements.
This is not the first damage of Abuhaikal land as a result of the excavations. The reoccurring disregard of both international law and Israeli law, coupled with verbal and physical assaults is not an isolated incident, but rather constitutes a methodology of colonialism by the Jewish settler enterprise in Israel. These same tactics were the same political instruments that led to the establishment and expansion of the illegal Jewish settlement of Tel Rumedia.
Explaining how he could destroy the foundations of the Abu Haikal’s wall, Emmanuel Eisenberg said explicitly that he, “Doesn’t give a shit,” and articulated at length the nature of his work, which he envisioned as establishing a kiosk or restaurant on the Palestinian lands. At one point during the dialogue, Eisenberg had attacked a human rights observer.
As has been chronicled by Israeli Jewish historian Illan Pappe and many others, forced displacement, harassment, and the suppression of basic rights has been the central component of Israeli policy on Palestinians. This reality is demonstrated with facts on the ground in Hebron specifically, with over a thousand Palestinian homes and shops evacuated, razed, or confiscated for the benefit, protection and expansion of Jewish settlement.
Eisenberg’s work on Tel Rumeida is an extension of formal Israeli policy to settle in “Judea and Samaria” and another instrument as the settlement plan to Judaize Hebron.