PLO flag raised over Sebastia National Park

Locals blast security officials for abandonment of national park and archeological site to Arab vandals.

Ido Ben Porat,

PLO flag waving at Sebastia National Park
PLO flag waving at Sebastia National Park
Shomron Regional Council spokesperson

On Sunday morning a Palestine Liberation Organization flag was found to have been raised over the Sebastia National Park in Samaria, flying above the ruins of an ancient Israelite palace.

The Sebastia National Park, administered by Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, encompasses the ancient city of Samaria – later renamed Sebastia by the Romans – and features archaeological finds from the First Temple period, including the remains of the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel.

This marks the third time the PLO flag has been discovered flying over the national park in the past month.

While Sebastia National Park is located in Area C under full Israeli control, the IDF has done little to maintain security in the site, where Arab vandals have destroyed archaeological remains and place nationalistic, pro-PLO and anti-Israel symbols.

The flag was discovered Sunday by Samarian Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan, whose home in the neighboring town of Shavei Shomron overlooks the park.

“Words can’t describe my shock when I saw that a national park and archeological site that is so important has been abandoned yet again,” Dagan said.

“The waving of the [PLO] flag this morning is the latest in a growing pattern of [vandalism], where priceless archeological relics inside of the national park are being destroyed. The authorities responsible are not doing their job, and we’ve seen more audacious acts of destruction and emerging battle to take over control of the place.”

“What began with the theft of ancient relics has turned into the destruction, in broad daylight, of archeological remains, and even [illegal] construction inside the national park on top of the archeological sites, and now the flying of a [PLO] flag over the [ancient] palace of the Israelite kings.”

“If the authorities responsible won’t come to their senses it will be very difficult to restore [Israeli control] and protect the site.”

The Samarian Regional Council has, along with the Regavim organization, turned to the Defense Ministry over the past two weeks for assistance, as well as to the heads of the Civil Administration and Archaeological Authority, calling for greater security at the Sebastia National Park.

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