Archaeologists have called for the preservation of an ancient church unearthed on a Gaza construction site, with different ministries in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave seemingly at loggerheads over its fate.
The site is believed to be a church or cathedral dating back to at least the 7th century.
The Gaza ministry of antiquities and a number of prominent archaeologists called for all building to be suspended until the relics can be protected and preserved.
The ministry of endowments and Islamic affairs, however, owns the land and wants the commercial development to continue, with bulldozers working on Tuesday despite protests.
Hyam al-Betar, an archaeologist who works with the antiquities ministry, screamed at bulldozers to stop on Tuesday as they roughly moved marble columns from under the sand, breaking one.
Technicians from the ministries of antiquities were hurriedly taking columns, as well as ornate marble bases, to the Qasr al-Basha — the only museum in Gaza — to be cleaned and restored before being presented.
Mohammed Al-Zarad, a researcher in archaeology at Gaza’s Islamic University, said it was a “very important site which must be protected.”
“We found many of the rock layers had fossils in them dating back to the bronze age,” he added, with other discoveries including plates and pottery – some of which were perhaps smashed by bulldozers.
Zarad said there were not enough resources to search for relics within Gaza and called on the world heritage body UNESCO to step in and “save the monuments of Gaza from loss.”
Jamal Abu Raida, from the ministry of antiquities, said the pieces found include a marble column engraved with leaves, pillars and a foundation stone bearing a Greek Christian symbol.
Gaza, like much of the Palestinian territories and Israel, is filled with antiquities.
The territory has at various times come under the rule of Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans.
Betar said it was important to try to find a solution.
“We extend our hand to all to cooperate in research into Gaza and its history because Gaza is one of the oldest cities in the world.”
“There are treasures beneath our feet,” she added.
Trump’s claim impeachment ‘nullifies’ 2016 election blown up in new House Judiciary Committee report
On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released their report outlining the offenses committed by President Donald Trump, and the legal framework for impeachment — which clears the way for Congress to write and approve articles of impeachment against him.
One of the key issues examined by the report is the claim, repeatedly made by the president and his supporters, that impeachment would "nullify" the 2016 presidential election and the popular will — which is already a weak claim given that Trump never won the popular vote, and that impeaching Trump would still install Mike Pence as president. But the report more broadly rejects the entire claim that an election result immunizes a president from punishment for official misconduct.
READ IT: House Judiciary Committee releases report defining Trump impeachable offenses
On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the impeachable acts committed by President Donald Trump.
"Our President holds the ultimate public trust," said the report, titled "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment," in its introduction. "A President faithful only to himself—who will sell out democracy and national security for his own personal advantage—is a danger to every American. Indeed, he threatens America itself."
The report clarifies the procedures for impeachment, analyzes whether president can be "impeached for abuse of executive powers," and "whether it is preferable to await the next election when a President has sought to corrupt that very same election."
Devin Nunes likely under federal investigation over foreign contacts after Parnas phone call revelation: ex-FBI official
On MSNBC's "AM Joy," former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi speculated that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) may already be under FBI investigation for his secret calls with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
"What do you make of the fact that the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, who participated in the Adam Schiff portion of the impeachment hearings, never said anything to anybody about the fact that he was not just the guy who's sitting on the dais, he was involved in some way with one of the players?" asked host Joy Reid.
"Well, it says a lot on two levels," said Figliuzzi. "It says a lot about Devin Nunes as an individual, his ethics, his integrity, and what he's all about. And then on a larger level, it's just a huge, ironic development that we're hearing all of this about — the Republicans are defending allegations that the president lacks integrity and ethics, and they're sitting there overseeing this and they're not recusing themselves, and they're not saying anything about their colleague, Devin Nunes. So, you know, the hypocrisy is loud and clear here. And eventually when the dust clears, Joy, I wouldn't be surprised if ethics investigations and perhaps even criminal investigations really point the finger at Nunes as someone who should have recused himself and is much deeper into this than we know now."