Archaeological find (illustrative)
Archaeological find (illustrative)Israel National TV

The World Archaeological Congress (WAC), presently convening a conference of archaeologists from all over the world, has excluded Israel even though the conference is taking place in Ramallah.

The congress, entitled "Overcoming Structural Violence", did not invite the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) despite the fact that some of the topics being discussed at the conference deal with regions in Jerusalem where an archaeological excavation is being conducted exclusively by the IAA.

In a statement to the media the IAA said that "Instead of Archaeology, WAC is talking politics. In this way the organization is introducing the conflict into the professional side of archaeology. The IAA operates with complete transparency, according to the guidelines of Israeli law and meticulously maintains the highest professional standards in accordance with the most stringent rules and without bias. There can be no doubt that the organizers of the conference set out with the goal in mind of inserting political issues into the professional archaeological experience."

Dr. Uzi Dahari, Deputy Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, added, "An international archaeological congress does not act this way. The congress came to a region where there is a conflict and chooses to

present one side of the story. It is forbidden that such a thing should happen."

Dahari emphasized that it is professionally unethical for an international archaeological forum to tour sites without the knowledge of the archaeologists who are excavating them. "In addition, the congress uses the names of sites as they are referred to by one side only," he said. (The congress is referring to the Temple Mount in English as Haram al Sharif.)

"It would be best if the World Archaeological Congress would focus on archaeology and not on politics," Dahari said.