The European Union is taking aim at archaeological excavations in the City of David.
The European Union is not happy about Jewish archaeological excavations in the City of David, according to a report leaked to the Guardian on February 2.
The EU Heads of Missions—an organization composed of EU diplomats, funded by the EU, and stationed in Jerusalem and Ramallah—writes an annual report about what it considers to be the obstacles to a diplomatic solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In years past, the report has focused on settlements and other Jewish activities that angered the Palestinians. But this year, the EU chose to take aim at a surprising target: archaeology. More specifically, it has targeted archaeological excavations taking place in the City of David, the most ancient part of Jerusalem.
Why do archaeologists dig there? Because it is where the ancient city of Jerusalem was. If you want to dig in ancient Jerusalem, then naturally you dig where ancient Jerusalem was.
However, it seems this fact is lost on EU diplomats. Instead, they see the excavations in the City of David purely as an attempt to undermine the Palestinians’ claim to the land. It’s as if they believe that archaeologists could dig anywhere in modern Jerusalem to study ancient Jerusalem, but they simply choose the City of David because of its large Palestinian population. Yes, it would be convenient if ancient Jerusalem was located in the western side of the city, then archaeological work could continue without such accusations.
The fact is, however inconvenient it may be to the EU, ancient Jerusalem is in East Jerusalem. And although different peoples have lived in Jerusalem through the ages, it is also a fact that the remnants of ancient Jerusalem are predominately Jewish from the time period of the Bible.
The EU diplomats claim that archaeologists are seeking to modify the historical narrative. However, archaeology doesn’t modify the historical narrative. It uncovers what the historical narrative is.
If you dig in the City of David, you will find a historical narrative that matches up remarkably with the Bible. But that is not how the EU representatives see it. Instead, they say that Israel is rewriting history through its archaeological digs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The EU diplomats are also upset that the “site is operated by a settler organization ‘promoting an exclusively Jewish narrative, while detaching the place from its Palestinian surroundings.’”
It is true that the City of David tourist site is run by an organization that believes Israel’s roots are firmly established in historical reality. It is true that the tour guides at the City of David hardly discuss the modern Palestinian inhabitants of the area. The reason is that the hundreds of thousands of tourists who travel to the City of David haven’t come here to view modern Palestinian history. They have come here to witness the history of the Bible—history that is abundantly verified by countless physical remains. To vilify an organization for giving tours accommodating the tourists is absurd.