The Hasmonean burial caves that were reportedly looted by local Arabs from Jericho..
(photo credit: YEDIDYA NEEMAN)
Two left wing NGOs, Yesh Din and Emek Shaveh, filed a petition under the Freedom of Information Act to reveal the identities of archaeological sites and archaeologists working in the West Bank. According to Emek Shaveh, the High Court ruled to conceal the identities of the locations and archaeologists.
Archaeologists and archaeological sites are not disclosed by the government unless
When the organizations appealed the decisions, the court rejected the petition at the end of May, because releasing the archaeologist's names could negatively affect them, if there was an academic boycott.
According to the 1954 Hague Convention, it forbids an occupying power from removing archaeological findings from an occupied territory. However, the Israel government disputes the claim that it is occupying the West Bank. The West Bank, "does not match the kind of forced population transfers contemplated," by the Fourth Geneva Convention, and argues that the West Bank had "no previous legitimate sovereign," according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website. Organizations like Amnesty international take the same Geneva Convention to interpret that Israel is breaching international law.
The minority opinion, Justice Baron, agreed with the petitioners, and said, “There is no democracy without a free and vital marketplace of ideas and opinions; and preventing a public discourse in advance for fear of criticism, and even a boycott, poses a real danger to the democratic values that the State of Israel espouses.
“Silencing the public discourse might prevent a boycott in the short term, but in the long term, silence of this kind will certainly undermine Israel’s ability to field the criticism it wishes.” to refute.
Emek Shaveh argued that, "one set of laws cannot apply within Israel, where archaeological research and findings are available and made known to the public, while archaeological excavations and finds discovered in the West Bank are treated as a state secret."
The implication of the law is that there is one law for information inside of the green line and another law in Israel, Emek Shaveh stated in their press release.
Emek Shaveh's mission, according to their website is to protect "cultural heritage rights and to protect ancient sites as public assets that belong to members of all communities, faiths and peoples." Yesh Din's focus is to improve human rights in the West Bank and Gaza.
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