woensdag 23 november 2016

Fear of BDS keeps Israeli judge from ordering to reveal details of archeological digs in occupied territory

 The Jerusalem District Court on Monday refused to reveal the names of archeologists performing digs at antiquities sites in the occupied West Bank, as is the practice of the Israel Antiquities Authority inside the Green Line. The reason: the archeologists’ (and the State’s) fear of academic boycotts, and the difficulties it would pose for ongoing (Israeli) archeological projects in the occupied territories
 The decision was issued in response to a petition filed by human rights organization Yesh Din and archeology NGO Emek Shaveh, against the Israeli military government in the West Bank (the Civil Administration) and the staff officer of its Archeology Department, who are responsible for issuing licenses for archeological excavations in the occupied territory. The petitioners sought information that the military refused to provide as part of a freedom of information request, mainly the names of the archeologists, and where Israeli authorities store antiquities they uncover in the West Bank.

The State claimed there is also a risk that the archeologists would be unable to publish in international academic journals, and that foreign academics would refuse to work with them in future research or refuse to invite them to conferences, thereby harming their professional careers.
Therefore, the court ruled, the personal risk to the archeologists and to the future of their research is enough to justify not publishing their names. Some of the archeologists did agree to their names being given to the petitioners, and they were.
The court also rejected the petitioners’ request for information about where Israel stores the uncovered antiquities
 In response to the decision, Yesh Din said in a statement:
The Israeli authorities’ fear of the boycott against archeologists in the West Bank and of harm to [the state’s] international relations […] is an admission that the state knows its hands are not clean, and must therefore conceal its archeological activities in the West Bank. It is unfortunate that the court chose to lend its hand to a policy of concealment and darkness, which denies the public its right to know and the ability to oversee and criticize.”

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