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How Israel Exploits Archeology in Palestine to Expand Occupation and Distorts Data: Religious Scholar

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Israel Accused of Exploiting Archaeology to Expand Occupation

A religious scholar specializing in religious antiquities has accused Israel of using archaeological research in Palestine to further its occupation in the region. Dr. Bilal Toprak, a faculty member at Duzce University in Turkey, argues that Israel distorts data and results to align with its agenda.

Israel’s Unique Approach to Archaeology

According to Dr. Toprak, while other nation-states use archaeology for ideological purposes, Israel takes it a step further. He claims that Israel seeks to claim ownership of lands it hasn’t inhabited for centuries, using archaeology as a weapon of colonization, denial, and erasure.

Dr. Toprak highlights the role of Zionism, scriptures, and religion in this exploitation. He points out that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, used archaeology to strengthen the bonds between Israeli Jews and their ancient ancestors, thus reinforcing the connection between the nation and its “homeland.”

Archaeology as an Instrument of Occupation

Dr. Toprak emphasizes the significance of place names in Israel’s colonization efforts. He notes that Israel has used Hebrew and Biblical names for areas that were historically ruled by Muslims. Furthermore, he claims that Israel has transformed Palestinian lands into Jewish lands, erasing any traces of Palestinian villages.

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Dr. Toprak cites the ancient mountaintop fortress of Masada as an example of Israel’s use of antiquities for occupation and colonization. He argues that Israeli leader Yigal Yadin used excavations at Masada to perpetuate the legend of Jewish resistance against the Romans, even though the archaeological findings didn’t support the narrative.

Erasing Palestinian Culture

According to Dr. Toprak, Israel has also attempted to erase the cultural fabric of Palestinians in the occupied areas. He mentions the planting of forests over former Palestinian villages in West Jerusalem as an example of this cultural removal.

Dr. Toprak contends that Israel has been using archaeological data to legitimize its occupation since British control over Palestine. He mentions the Palestine Exploration Fund and American theologian and archaeologist William Albright as influential figures in laying the foundations of Zionism through archaeological interpretations.

The Manipulation of Archaeology

Dr. Toprak argues that Israel effectively uses archaeology to assert its ownership of the lands it currently occupies. He points out that even the names of museums in Israel, such as the Israel Museum and the Museum of the Jewish People, promote the idea of a great civilization in the past and reinforce Israel’s claim to the land.

In conclusion, Dr. Toprak highlights the importance of understanding how archaeology can be manipulated for political purposes. He urges a critical examination of archaeological research in the context of Israel’s occupation and colonization efforts.

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