The Palestinian Authority is reportedly preparing to demand that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) force Israel to “return” the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Palestinians.
During a meeting convened by the U.N.’s cultural body last month, Eitan Klein, who serves as the deputy director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was told that the Palestinians had informally raised the issue of Israel returning the Dead Sea Scrolls, and that they were likely to make an official request to that end, the Times of Israel reported.
“This is another instance of provocation and the ‘chutzpah’ of the Palestinians trying to rewrite history and erase our connection to our land,” said Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen.
“The fragments of the scrolls are proof and a weighty archaeological evidence of the historical connection of the Jewish People to the land of Israel,” added Shama-Hacohen.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, one of Israel’s most treasured archaeological possessions, were found in caves in Qumran in the Judean Desert in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy. Currently housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the scrolls, which date back to the Second Temple period, include some of the earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible ever found and serve as proof of the Jewish connection to the land of Israel.
“In any case, just like with the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the scrolls will stay in our hands and the Palestinians will be left with their dreams,” Shama-Hacohen said.
The latest move by the Palestinians follows a series of UNESCO resolutions in October that ignored Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites.