Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Looking to archaeology as a tool for peace

For the past five years, archaeologists Ran Boytner and Lynn Swartz Dodd have been working on an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that would decide the future of the region’s archaeological treasures if a state of Palestine is ever created, Canada Free Press reported Monday.

Boytner, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dodd, of the University of Southern California, believe that archaeology would bring Israelis and Palestinians together to protect the land’s heritage. “We’re talking about putting your precious archaeological heritage – things you believe your ancestors created – in the hands of what you now consider to be your enemy,” Dodd said. “We’re asking enemies to become partners.”

Archaeology can also play an important role in peace agreements. “According to international law, if there is a future Palestinian state, the Israelis will have to return archaeological artifacts to the Palestinian state” Boytner said. “That, for the [Israeli] right wing, would be a major rallying point to oppose the peace process. Therefore, archaeology could be a deal-breaker in future peace negotiations. But if we can deal with archeology, we can help create a stable peace process that will be respected by both sides for years to come.”

For the full article, click here.


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