25 min

Excavating Israel's underground settlements The +972 Podcast

    • Politics

Archeology is presumed to be a neutral endeavor, a practice of excavation that merely uncovers clues about the past. But according to Israeli archeologist Yonathan Mizrahi, it's easy to frame archeological discoveries in a way that privileges one narrative or one history over another. That's very much what is happening in Israel-Palestine, and a lot of that is concentrated in East Jerusalem.

Until recently, Mizrahi served as the executive director of Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO that examines the interplay between archeology and the occupation. In his 15 years at the helm, he witnessed the increasing encroachment of right-wing settler groups on the city's Palestinian neighborhoods — a process which has, to a significant extent, relied on archeological excavations.

Such digging "brings [settlers] the opportunity to justify the settlement," said Mizrahi. "Instead of looking at the settlers as a group of people living in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, they can come and say, 'Listen, we are living in Jewish history. We have historic rights here. It's not just the Bible — you can see the ruins here."

The music in this episode is by Ketsa.

Visit +972 Magazine and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support +972 Magazine: 972mag.com/donate
Support the show (https://972mag.com/donate)

Archeology is presumed to be a neutral endeavor, a practice of excavation that merely uncovers clues about the past. But according to Israeli archeologist Yonathan Mizrahi, it's easy to frame archeological discoveries in a way that privileges one narrative or one history over another. That's very much what is happening in Israel-Palestine, and a lot of that is concentrated in East Jerusalem.

Until recently, Mizrahi served as the executive director of Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO that examines the interplay between archeology and the occupation. In his 15 years at the helm, he witnessed the increasing encroachment of right-wing settler groups on the city's Palestinian neighborhoods — a process which has, to a significant extent, relied on archeological excavations.

Such digging "brings [settlers] the opportunity to justify the settlement," said Mizrahi. "Instead of looking at the settlers as a group of people living in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, they can come and say, 'Listen, we are living in Jewish history. We have historic rights here. It's not just the Bible — you can see the ruins here."

The music in this episode is by Ketsa.

Visit +972 Magazine and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support +972 Magazine: 972mag.com/donate
Support the show (https://972mag.com/donate)

25 min