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Archaeologists scramble to save ancient church unearthed on Gaza building site

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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“There are treasures beneath our feet,” she added.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro takes on Norway for whaling, but bungles it

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday responded to Norway's decision to halt its forest protection subsidies, taking to Twitter to criticise the Scandinavian country for its whaling practice and post spectacular -- albeit misleading -- images.

"Look at the killing of whales sponsored by Norway," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.

The post includes a video and photographs of a spectacular whale hunt, where mammals in the shallow waters of a bay are slaughtered by people wading on shore, armed with hooked knives. The whales' blood turns the waters red.

However, the images, reportedly taken on May 29 in Norway, illustrate a "grind", a type of pilot whale hunt practised exclusively in the Faroe Islands -- a Danish territory in the North Atlantic.

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Orange County teens busted for singing obscure Nazi song while giving Hitler salutes

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Nearly a dozen high school students from Southern California delivered Nazi salutes and sang a Nazi marching song in a video posted on social media.

The video was uploaded to Instagram by one member of the boys’ water polo team at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California, along with lyrics to the song played for German troops during World War II, reported The Daily Beast.

A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School District told the website administrators learned of the incident in March, four months after the video was posted, but declined to say whether any of the students were disciplined.

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History provides us with no shortage of clowns and buffoons who were in politics

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“The problem with political jokes,” Groucho Marx once said, “is that they keep getting elected.” Never has that been more true than today.  We live in a world ruled by clowns.  I mean that both literally and figuratively.  Our century has ushered in the Age of the Clown Politician.

In Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who played a Ukrainian president on the popular television comedy SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE, was elected to be the real president with over 70 percent of the vote. Zelensky is literally a clown.  In Great Britain, Boris Johnson, who will replace Theresa May as prime minister, is a buffoon who elicits laughter –usually unintended- wherever he goes.  Mr. Johnson is figuratively a clown.

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