Israel Arrests an Antiquities Thief and Recovers Thousands of Precious Relics

Feb. 10 2022

For months, Jerusalem has been investigating the theft of a huge number of rare antiquities. In a joint operation on Wednesday morning, as Judith Sudilovsky documents, Israeli officials raided a location in the village of Qalil, near Nablus, recovering thousands of ancient relics:

Rare coins from among the oldest used in the Land of Israel, as well as relics from the Persian and Hellenistic periods and coins from the time of the Great Jewish Revolt were among the confiscated finds. They are estimated to have a value of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

The operation was part of the extensive efforts undertaken by the [West Bank] Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit over recent years to preserve archaeological finds, and root out the theft of antiquities in the Judea and Samaria area with the help of advanced technology.

“The Civil Administration is pursuing many avenues, both public and confidential, in order to preserve the archaeology of Judea and Samaria,” said the Civil Administration’s head Faris Atila. “Following a long and intricate operation, thousands of rare archaeological items that had been stolen by a specialist in archaeological theft were located. The operation was important, with significance in breaking the chain of traffic in antiquities in Judea and Samaria. The Civil Administration will continue working tirelessly against the shameful phenomenon of destruction and theft at the archaeological sites of Judea and Samaria, protecting the cultural and historical assets of the area.”

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, West Bank

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank