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Jordan says it owns Dead Sea Scrolls

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

AMMAN, Jordan (WJC)– The Jordanian government has said that the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls were seized illegally by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and has asked the United Nations for them to be restored to Jordan.

“The government has legal documents that prove Jordan owns the scrolls,” a government official in Amman said, adding that a complaint had been filed with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Antiquities Authority of Israel rejected the claim, saying Israel was the rightful custodian of the scrolls.

The 2,000 years-old manuscripts, which contain 900 documents, including the oldest known version of the Hebrew Bible, several books of Apocrypha and writings about an ancient Jewish sect’s beliefs and practices, were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around Qumran, on the Dead Sea. They are normally on display in Jerusalem, but are currently on loan to a museum in Toronto, Canada. Jordan has asked Canada to seize the scrolls, invoking the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which the two countries are signatories.

A Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesman told the news agency AFP earlier this month that “it would not be appropriate for Canada to intervene” in differences between Jordan and Israel over the scrolls.”

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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