The Anthedon Seaport sits in Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea. It is over 3000-years-old and contains both mosaic floors and pillars dating from the Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic ages. In 2012 it was designated an international heritage site in 2012 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Starting in March, Hamas began bulldozing parts of the site, according to the website Al-Monitor, to expand a terror training base. According to Hamas ministry of tourism, however:
“Due to rising population in the region, the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land. This is why the ministry has agreed with the different responsible parties on using a limited part of the location temporarily in a way that won’t harm the underground monuments there in any way,” the statement read.
At the same time, that statement is refuted by Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela who told Al-Monitor:
“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly used without harming it at all,” Khela explained.
So many sites in the Middle East are being destroyed either intentionally or as the result of regional warfare. In Syria, several sites including a 2000-year-old Synagogue have been damaged or destroyed by fires and shelling. Those situations receive a lot of press, especially when its Assad forces that are causing the damage. In this situation, it is interesting that UNESCO, the media, etc. ignore the destruction when it would cast a negative light on the Palestinians. Similarly, there wasn’t much outcry if any from the mainstream media when ancient Jewish artifacts on the Temple Mount were removed with bulldozers in an attempt to deny Israel its claim to Jerusalem. I wonder if Israel, for its populations needs or otherwise, destroyed part of a UNESCO site if they would receive the same silence…