Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Gaza pagan treasure holds promise for Islamic rulers  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 15/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN - AFP) The discovery in Gaza of a life-size bronze statue of a naked ancient Greek god has presented the Palestinian territory's Islamist rulers with a dilemma: should there be a cover-up?Religious sensitivities about nudity and pagan idolatry aside, mystery also surrounds the circumstances of how the statue of Apollo turned up.A fisherman says he found it by the seashore, but the green patina on the impressive 2,500-year-old artifact suggests it was discovered on land.The statue, weighing 450 kilograms(1,000 pounds) and 1.7 metres (5.8 feet) in height, is being kept by police at an undisclosed location as they investigate, although the Hamas government has distributed photographs.Fisherman Jawdat Ghorab, 26, from the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah told AFP he found the figure among rocks on the seashore last August."I saw a treasure, a gift from God," he said. "I thought that my life of poverty had been transformed."He said that with great effort he and his family loaded the statue onto a donkey cart and brought it home where it was placed on a mattress until its confiscation by the police.

Ghorab admits to breaking off one of the figure's fingers, thinking that it might be made of gold."I'm asking the government for a reward of 10 percent of (the statue's) value," he said, hoping to be officially recognised as the finder.But experts who had heard rumours of such as discovery for months contend that Ghorab's version is pure fiction."The find had to be made public to save it from destruction by vandals," an archeologist who has excavated widely in the region said on condition of anonymity."It is the lure of profit which guarantees its conservation," he added, estimating the statue's value at around 20 million (15 million euros)."But immediately, politics becomes involved," with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority -- forced out of the Gaza Strip by Hamas in 2007 -- wanting to have its say.The PA's deputy tourism minister, Hamdan Taha, said his concern was the statue's restoration and its possible sale."This is a very important and exciting scientific discovery and we're trying -- with several parties -- to follow deveopments," he said.
"What gets in our way is Hamas's control of Gaza."- 'Cover its genitals' -

Young Gaza archeologist Fadel al-Utol said the statue, with its green patina, was unlikely to have come from beneath the waves."It is 90 percent intact and was probably found on land," he told AFP. "If it had spent time underwater, the bronze would be blackened.""It's more likely that the statue was found in an ancient temple in the Gaza area. We need to search and find out," he said.Utol said statues of such a size are rare, although a smaller example is held by the Louvre in Paris.He has suggested to the Hamas government's tourism and antiquities ministry that a Franco-Palestinian team help restore the Gaza Apollo and put it on display in a local museum.Local sensitivities in religiously conservative Gaza, however, would oblige "covering its genitals with an antique sculpture of a mulberry leaf out of consideration for Palestinian and Islamic values," he said.Hamas deputy prime minister Ziad al-Zaza said his organisation "wanted to preserve antiquities and the history of mankind."The statue is in the hands of the interior ministry pending the investigation to determine "if it was found in the sea or moved from somewhere else," he said."After the inquiry, the statue will be returned to the tourism and antiquities ministry which will make contact with interested international parties, particularly France which is one of the most interested in (Gaza) antiquities," he said."We are reaching out our hand to international institutions, to museums and to governments to take part in the restoration and display of this exceptional piece in the museums of Gaza or elsewhere," the ministry's director general Ahmad al-Borsh said."The statue could perhaps be loaned to a famous French or British museum, which could bring about contacts between the Gaza government and foreign governments," said Mohammed Khalla, Hamas's deputy tourism minister.But it is a long way from Gaza to the British Museum or the Louvre.The European Union shuns formal contact with Hamas, which both Brussels and Washington have classified as a "terrorist organisation."



  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 30 2015 - Kuwait oil minister leaves post days before Opec meetingGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Kuwait named Deputy Prime Minister Anas al-Saleh as acting oil minister to replace Ali al-Omair (pictured) who became minister of public affairs and retained his role as state ...

 Nov 30 2015 - Dana Gas wins $1.98bn Kurdistan judgementGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) ...

 Nov 30 2015 - India's SpiceJet 'receives' interest from Gulf airlinesGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Indian budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd, which has surged more than 280% this year, said it's received interest from Gulf airlines looking to acquire a stake."Some of the Gulf ...

 Nov 30 2015 - Qatar- Investment in healthcare makes for a healthy economyGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Under the wise and dynamic leadership of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the growth and improvement in quality of Qatar's health sector has been a major ...

 Nov 30 2015 - GCC should adopt a holistic approach to managing urban water supply: ExpertGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region should adopt a holistic approach to managing urban water supply, according to an expert at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research ...

 Nov 30 2015 - Brent crude dips on firm dollar ahead of OPEC meetingGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Brent crude futures dipped on Monday as traders remained cautious ahead of an OPEC meeting later this week and as a widely expected US interest rate hike strengthened the ...

 Nov 30 2015 - India- Kerala expects more tourists from the GulfGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Encouraged by the response it received at the Arabian Travel Mart held in Dubai in May, Kerala Tourism is conducting a series of roadshows in the Gulf region.The tourism board ...

 Nov 30 2015 - Carson meets Syrian refugees, opposes them coming to USGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, who last week compared Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs," met with refugees in Jordan on Saturday and urged the US government to do ...

 Nov 30 2015 - IS executes 3,500 in Syria since declaring 'caliphate'Gulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Islamic State group has executed more than 3,500 people in Syria, including nearly 2,000 civilians, since declaring its 'caliphate' in June last year, a monitor said ...

 Nov 30 2015 - 16 killed in fighting for south Yemen provinceGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Yemeni loyalists supported by a Saudi-led coalition battled on Sunday to oust Iran-backed rebels from a southern province where they have made gains in recent weeks, with at ...




Click to Apply


Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help