Tuesday, April 29, 2008

UCLA and USC Archaeologists Brokering Israeli Palestinian Accord

Lynn Swartz Dodd and Ran Boytner

UCLA Today Online has a story about Lynn Swartz Dodd from USC and Ran Boytner from UCLA who have worked for the last five years to negotiate an agreement between Israeli and Palestinian archaeologists as to the disposition of ancient artifacts from excavations in the region when a future Palestinian state is established.

The two scholars "enlisted six of the region's most prominent working archaeologists and ultimately involved 10 institutions from around the world. To bankroll their activities, the team raised more than $150,000 in funds from a range of public and private donors, including USC, UCLA and the U.S. Institute of Peace, an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by the U.S. Congress."

"The negotiating team presented their case to 200 Israeli archaeologists on April 8 at a four-hour conference at the Van Leer Institute, a Jerusalem nonprofit dedicated to enhancing and deepening Israeli democracy." Included in the proposed solution is
More than tripling of the footprint of that part of Jerusalem that would qualify for special protections as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to include the city's boundaries during the 10th century, or roughly the era of the Crusades. Currently, such status extends to a one-third-square-mile area that includes the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the walls of Jerusalem's more than 2,000-year-old Old City.
"Palestinian archaeologists have already expressed support for the document's provisions, which are now on file with the Israeli and Palestinian governments, the U.S. Department of State and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is now the official envoy of the Middle East diplomatic "quartet" — the four outside entities (the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia) involved in mediating the peace process for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

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