Jordan tries to seize Dead Sea Scrolls while on display abroad

Sunday, January 03, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

The government of Jordan last month attempted to gain control of the Dead Sea Scrolls while they were on loan from the Israel Museum to the Royal Ontario Museum in Ontario, Canada.

London's Globe and Mail reported that the Jordanian government summoned the Canadian ambassador in Amman and asked his government to seize control of the ancient documents, claiming Israel does not have rightful ownership of them.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave at Qumran on the northern shores of the Dead Sea, territory that was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948-1967. The only legally binding international documents preceding the Jordanian occupation granted control of that area to Israel. The 1947 UN Partition Plan that offered the area to the Palestinian Arabs was not legally binding and was rejected by the Arabs, though the Palestinians also now claim ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by saying that the disputed ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a matter for Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians to resolve amongst themselves, and that it would not be proper for Canada to intervene.

Jordan said that even if Canada would not seize the documents, the motion would at least make other countries think twice before putting the Israeli-controlled Dead Sea Scrolls on display.

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