Two US envoys attended a controversial archaeological event organized by a Jewish settler-linked group in east Jerusalem on Sunday, their latest move breaking with precedent and angering Palestinians.
White House adviser Jason Greenblatt and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman attended the event marking the completion of an archaeological project next to the Old City in mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem, according to the group, the City of David Foundation.
Greenblatt dismissed accusations it was a further acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem.
Israel opened a newfound Roman-era street at a divisive archaeological site in east Jerusalem. President Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, swung the first sledgehammer. The US is helping Israel “Judaize” East Jerusalem. #FreePalestinehttps://t.co/GC6OQUGDqE
— Joan Bates (@joanopinions) July 1, 2019
The Palestinian Authority “claims our attendance at this historic event supports ‘Judaization’ of Jerusalem/is an act of hostility vs. Palestinians. Ludicrous,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show. We can acknowledge it & you can stop pretending it isn’t true! Peace can only be built on truth.”
The event saw the unveiling of part of an ancient road, now underground, that the foundation says served as a pilgrimage route to the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.
Unclear where Friedman & Greenblatt are going with this… Opening a US embassy in West Jerusalem is one thing. Its a completely different matter for the United States Ambassador, on behalf of Israel, to hammer into a tunnel under a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/rxAGUk5NG4
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) June 30, 2019
Work has taken place in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in the eastern sector of the disputed city.
Palestinians accuse Israel and the foundation of seeking to push them out of the city.
The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned “in the strongest terms the colonialist plans to replace the existing reality in occupied Jerusalem and the environs of the Old City”.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt plan to join the inauguration of an excavation site led by a right-wing settler organization that expropriates lands & aims to push Palestinians out of occupied East Jerusalem.https://t.co/zVkPaBVt8d pic.twitter.com/AlHlF1v0t9
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) June 30, 2019
Emek Shaveh, an Israeli group that opposes the “politicization” of archaeology, also condemned the planned American presence, calling it “a political act which is the closest the US will have come to recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Old City basin of Jerusalem”.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)