A Palestinian official on Wednesday labeled as unsubstantiated propaganda an Israeli archeologist's announcement a day earlier that he had discovered the tomb of King Herod south of Jerusalem.
"We warn Israel against using this purported discovery for political and ideological purposes," the official in the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism told The Jerusalem Post. "The Israeli announcement is part of a fierce Israeli settlement offensive in the Bethlehem area."
In an official statement released by Jerusalem's Hebrew University, Prof. Ehud Netzer, a noted international expert on King Herod, announced that he had finally discovered the ancient ruler's grave and tomb after 34 years of searching the Herodion fortified palace complex some seven miles south of the Israeli capital.
Herod built the Herodion as an administrative center. Like many of Herod's massive building projects during his reign, the Herodion was an engineering marvel.
But like all ancient Israelite sites found throughout the land, the Palestinian Arabs claim the Herodion as a part of a cultural, historical and spiritual heritage they have contrived for themselves in this part of the Middle East.
Every Israeli archeological find in the area is immediately discredited as a politically-motivated farce aimed solidifying what the Arabs insist is a false Jewish claim to the biblical Land of Israel.