Tuesday, June 17, 2008

There is no archaeological peace
The unsuccessful attempt to breathe life into the deflated balloon of the peace process has given rise to reports on a plethora of initiatives for the resolution of the different issues comprising the morass of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Teams of Israeli and Palestinian professionals, funded by international foundations specializing in the peace industry, hold meetings, usually abroad, and work on drafts of agreements that profess to resolve problems in such sensitive matters as Palestinian and Israeli educational curricula, determination of sovereignty, the setting of borders, economic arrangements, and the like.

Those behind the drafts acknowledge that the chances of their influencing the decision makers is not great, but they argue that the significance of the meetings lies in the very fact they are being held, and that they offer hope that a solution is possible, and only a matter of intellectual effort and goodwill.

It's an opinion piece on the recent "Israeli-Palestinian Cultural Heritage Agreement" that was splashed all over the place (except here, I think) a few weeks ago. A few interesting tidbits. Recall this post of a review that had some commentary on who "owns" the archaeological record. This piece seems to make the argument that there is no "Palestinian archaeological record" or an "Israeli archaeological record" since such entities didn't really ever exist until recently. I have some sympathy for that position and lean towards a strict(ish) territorial interpretation.